One of the greatest tragedies of poverty is that it robs young people of the chance to dream about the future. When you live your life on the edge of survival, you are forced to focus on getting through the day, and planning for the future seems like a futile exercise. This is why so many young people in Haiti feel hopeless, but we are striving to change that for as many young Haitians as possible.
Not only do we support students with education and access to technology, but we also have a university mentoring program. Every university student who enters our program is now matched with a personal mentor. These mentors are local professionals who come from a similar background as the students, so they are uniquely equipped to support them on their journey.
Recently we asked each of the students to write down a list of long-term goals, and in our last mentoring meeting both students and mentors provided feedback. Many of the students admitted that they were skeptical at first, but they all felt that it was beneficial looking back. The mentors talked about how they’re helping the students to find a balance between dreaming big, but also setting realistic measurable goals.
These students are just starting their adult lives, so the specific goals may change, but the process is valuable in itself. For perhaps the first time in their life, they have been given permission to dream, and they have a community of people around them encouraging them. They may have been born into poverty, but this does not have to define their future. Together we are surrounding them with a support system that will enable them to unlock their potential and pursue a brighter future.