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Gold Award project: Entrepreneurial development in Haiti

My name is Lilli T. and I live in Breckenridge. I am currently working on my Girl Scout Gold Award, which will take place in the Haitian school of St. Paul’s.

Haitian education rates are among the lowest in the western hemisphere with a literacy rate of 61% compared to America’s 86%. Haiti has 15,200 primary schools, 90% of which are non-public and run by religious affiliations. The United States has 66,718 public primary schools. 88% of eligible Haitian students are enrolled in primary school, while 20% are enrolled in secondary school. Secondary and higher level education in provided by public and private institutions. The Haitian government provides very little funds for public schools, only 10% of the government’s budget is spent on public schools. Out of the 67% enrollment rate for primary school, 70% continue to the third grade. 21.5% of the population, age 5+, receive a secondary education, and 1% receive a university level education. 33% of children (ages 6-12) do not attend school.

The school where I will be completing my Gold Award at is named St. Paul’s. St Paul’s school is located in Petit Trou de Nippes, Haiti, a rural coastal town located 80 miles west of the capital, Port-Au-Prince. It was founded in 1990 and began as a one room schoolhouse educating all ages and boys and girls together. It has since grown to a co-ed fall 2016 enrollment of 400+ students ranging from grades K-8. St. Paul’s enrollment fee is $350 per student or $7,000 a class. However, due to the devoted Colorado Haiti Project and its partners, tuition is nearly free to all students.

For my Gold Award, I am partnering with the Colorado Haiti Project and heading their new youth entrepreneurial program for the 8th grade class at St. Paul`s Episcopal School in Petit Trou. I will be organizing a three-day hands-on business workshop that is an opportunity for 8th grader students to “start” small businesses. The students will learn a simplified version of the five fundamentals of business – creating business plan, product, loans, advertising, and how to earn a profit. They will start with thinking about their markets, design, advertising and create a budget. They will then go to the “bank” and take out a loan with which they will visit the “wholesale store” where they will buy the materials for the products they will make. The students will spend a day or two making their products and on the final day a market will be held where they will sell their products. After the sale, they will pay back their loan right here to the “bank” and are then allowed to visit the wholesale store to buy materials, or candy, to make more products for fun!

My primary goal in completing my Gold Award is to provide these 8th graders, whom some will not continue school after this year, with an enriched education that will help them in the work force. I also hope to educate those in the United States and elsewhere about the education climate in Haiti and encourage them to get involved in making a change!



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