This past March, I travelled to Cange, Haiti to learn about the small, community library there. It’s a small, 1-room building with 2 walls of books, 6 computers, and many patrons.
The students I encountered in Haiti have a strong desire to learn. They appreciate the value and the power of education in a way that is foreign to me and my days in my school. In the evenings, as we walked through the walled-off complex, I was fascinated to see students sitting at the base of the lampposts, reading and studying there because there were no lights at home. In the mornings and afternoons I saw children and youth walking for miles beside the winding mountain roads to get to and from school. They want to learn so they can empower themselves. All they need is a space and some resources. An education is the best help anyone can give.
The good schools are brick and concrete. Many others are nothing more than open shelters built from rough-sawn boards nailed together. Chalkboards and desks are an extra treat.
They don’t have many resources, but 4 years ago this small, community library was started, and has quickly outgrown its space. Dr. Sara Mansbach works diligently with her organization, Partners in Literacy Haiti, to help secure books and resources for the library. She travels to Cange regularly and meets with the local leaders who are fully-involved in making the library a sustainable and successful part of the community. Together, we interviewed many of those community leaders as well as students and others who experience the benefits of the library first-hand.
The exciting news is that the land has now been donated for this purpose, and we are now focused on finding donations to begin construction on the new library. I hope you will learn about this project through the short videos below and consider how you might help make this new library a tool for change in the region and the world.