An Alernative

The challenge of the Haitian educational  system began with their first day of our independence. Various intellectuals contributed many schools of thought.  But most of the plans to educate the children of Haiti were interspersed with politics

We needed an idea that had the potential to gather the people and impart vision, while providing the means and the action to reach our goals. For Eben-Ezer "Co-Operatives" were the answer.

There is in each Haitian a spark of patriotism, a hope for the fatherland and a willingness to work for the good of Haiti.  In 1973, one of these sparks flew and a flame began in the hearts of Haitians.  This spark was the Decree of September 17th, 1973.

This Decree states that Co-Operatives must enter into all the schools of the Republic.

They are to be included as part of the school program. The idea is for co-ops to become a social and economical lever for Haitian schoolboys and schoolgirls and Haitian families, helping families not only provide a way to pay for tuition, but to provide for the needs of the family and relieve them from poverty. By co-operating with families in creative ways, a family is given their own small business, via a loan they can manage, to start a business, agreeing to keep their children in school and to pay tuition. This in turn not only gives the family a business and educates the child, the school can pay its teachers and provide for the various needs of the school. For example, a family is given three pigs.  Those pigs are raised and reproduce.  The family gives back tuition from their profits, as well as a pig during a specified period of time. The family has a business, the school has tuition, and the program has more pigs to give away.  This has taken on many forms via stores, pharmacies, brick making, goats, pigs, chickens and more.


This idea did not go its way like many have.  And since other contemporary societies have adopted it, many Haitians hold on to this dream with affection. We are learning from their experience how to make the dream come alive to actively change the lives of Haitian families and to support education,

We propose to take the September 17th, 1973 Decree and run with it.  By co-operating with families to grow their own business, they have a way out of poverty.  And the school in turn is paid tuition as the family business grows and provides for their needs.  School co-ops are the basis of their social and economic development.  

The Challenge:

In normal situations, the student first learns in a local and national context, then studies about foreign cultures. In Haitian schools, our first teachers are French.  Because of this we have many challenges to overcome.

Among them are the following:


  • Understanding and learning are not always linked, so there is an imbalance between theoretical intelligence and social intelligence, theory vs. practical.

  • Learning is something that many parents do not participate in, and even the school community at large.  Many parents are illiterate.

  • The School imparts rote knowledge but not life skills and critical thinking for life management.

  • School is an economic burden to the State and to the community.  

  • Haitian education depends primarily on foreign aid.  

  • Haitian Education is preparing candidates to leave the country as diaspora in other places.

  • Haitian born people living in other countries do not understand the real problems of their native country.  

  • The lack of uniformity in the backgrounds of Haitian intellectuals makes it difficult for leaders in planning development to have a fruitful dialog.  

  • Foreign aid will be efficient only once the components of the school communities take charge of the education system.

  • Even if the order may come from above, from the state, the organization happens from the bottom. Networks of strong school communities make a solid and durable educative system.



School Co-Operatives

A School Co-Op teaches students:


  • To develop a spirit of initiative.

  • To identify the individual and collective problems of the Haitian people and to seek solutions.

  • To pursue common objectives.

  • To learn the laws and principles of protocol.

  • To learn principles of  management and administration.

  • To elaborate and execute projects and follow them up.

  • To manage savings, and to invest and reinvest.

  • To actively participate in the social and economic life of their community.

  • To aim at achieving financial autonomy for their school and community.

  • To cultivate a spirit of mutual aid, solidarity and community relationships.

  • To cultivate a spirit of entrepreneurship and to be looking for partnerships at all levels of society.  

  • To cultivate and take care of their social intelligence

  • To learn the art of discussing, decision making and actively participate and promote democracy.

School Co-Ops

Our Co-Ops Are:

Doing market studies.

Growing the budget and resources of the Co-Op program.

Working to fill the needs of their school and communities.

Educating families and individuals on how to save and grow businesses.

Creating their own financial Co-Op credit unions and helping each other.

Multiplying their investments and entrepreneurship clubs.

Participating in and organizing contests in order to promote entrepreneurship and investment.

Hosting conferences, seminars, symposiums etc. on entrepreneurship and investment.

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