Ketly Altenor

Medicine – Class of 2013

Ketly’s mother is a street vendor in a small-town market and her father died when Ketly was 12. “Growing up, things were very difficult for my family,” she says. “We barely scraped by, and depended on friends to help with things like school fees.”Despite these hardships, Ketly graduated high school at the top of her class and sat for the highly competitive State University medical school entrance exam. From among several thousand young Haitians who applied, Ketly was one of only 100 to be accepted.

But even after winning a spot at university, Ketly faced challenges in her studies. She couldn’t afford her own textbooks – let alone things like a stethoscope and blood pressure gauge – and often couldn’t spare the $0.23 for a bus ride to campus, forcing her to walk 45 minutes under a blazing sun. Some days she wasn’t able to scrape together money for a decent meal. Things started to turn around for Ketly when a classmate told her about HELP.

Today, Ketly lives in HELP housing much closer to campus, has access to her own textbooks, and money for transportation, stethoscopes, and food to eat every day. In addition to continuing her medical program, Ketly participates in HELP’s ESL, IT, and leadership classes, which she says have had a big impact. “The sense of leadership instilled by HELP has been a great support for me in my hospital internship program.”

Ketly is looking forward to putting her advanced training to work to support her follow Haitians. She spent the summer of 2011 as part of a cholera awareness team, travelling to remote areas along Haiti’s southern coast to share prevention and treatment techniques. This experience reinforced her passion for helping others: “There are many people less fortunate than ourselves, and they truly need our help.”