Ecole Saint Matthieu, Bayonnais, Haiti
As we start a new year, the Mission Team and the vestry are excited to issue an invitation to Saints James and Andrew, one that seeks to continue broadening the scope of our parish outreach as we look beyond our walls and our immediate surroundings to find new partners in mission. Grace Church Amherst has been supporting a primary school in rural Haiti for the past 15 years. They are already collaborating with an Episcopal church in Maryland as well as the Episcopal Diocese of Haiti, and three NGOs: Food for the Poor, Anseye Pou Ayiti (“Teach for Haiti”) and Health4Haiti. Together these partners have grown the primary school of Bayonnais from one room to a campus housing facilities for grades 1-6. This year they have added a seventh grade, and so they need more funds, and more partners. That’s where we come in.
We are proposing that our parish take on a Lenten commitment to Saint Matthieu beginning in 2023, to be evaluated after the first year to see if we can and want to continue. Educating one seventh grader for a year costs about $300, including uniforms, textbooks and school supplies). We propose a goal of $1500, enough for about five students. The vestry has asked that the parish outreach budget make up the short fall if that amount isn’t raised. We have invited someone from Grace Church to come on Sunday, February 19 to speak to the congregation about their involvement in this project, and to answer questions.
Many aspects of this outreach project make it especially worthwhile. Haiti, the poorest country in the Western hemisphere, is the victim of recurring disasters, both natural and political, including climate-related disasters brought on because of the very high price this island pays for the rest of the world's environmental negligence. But Haitians value education very highly. They understand that education is their ticket out of their current state of destitution. There is a delicate balance between outreach projects that practice charity and those that promote justice. In supporting the education of young people in the poorest country in the Western hemisphere, we would be working to tip the scales in favor of justice.
Please visit the website www.graceinhaiti.org to learn more about this remarkable project.
Donation envelopes are available in the narthex, and contributions can also be made on the Saints James and Andrew website. In the memo line of a check, please write, 'Haiti - St. Matthieu'. Thank you!