The Facts

Approximately 50 percent of Haitian children do not attend primary school, while roughly 80 percent fail to reach secondary school.

Haiti is the only country in the Americas with an adult literacy rate of less than 50 percent and a youth literacy rate of less than 80 percent.

More than half of Haiti's population lives below the international poverty line of $1.25 per day, making Haiti the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.

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Our Involvement in Haiti

Classrooms missing roofs and walls. Children lacking access to basic education. Teachers using tarp as chalkboards. And, amidst it all, the indomitable spirit of people working to improve each other's lives.

CYFS Director Susan Sheridan encounters these dual realities on each of her annual mission trips to La Montagne (mawn-TYN'), Haiti, a beautiful but historically poor mountainside community devastated by a 2010 earthquake.

"La Montagne is a very spirited, inspirational place," Sheridan said. "There is both hope and desperation; extreme poverty and glimmers of opportunity. Relative to the standards of life as we know it, conditions in La Montagne might seem destitute and unfathomable. Yet, there is a strong drive among educators, clergy and caregivers to improve the quality of life for the people of La Montagne, and that is very contagious. Most people work without pay but still assume responsibility for their fellow person. The sentiment is clear: Perseverance and hard work will begin to make an impact."

Sheridan travels to the country with Friends of the Children, a group that provides biannual medical care in La Montagne. The Wisconsin-based nonprofit organization has treated the sick and injured since 1998.

Elevating Haitian Education

Local educational leaders in La Montagne are working to address several areas of immediate need. Because many Haitian schools receive little financial support from their government, they must charge admission fees that many families cannot afford. UNICEF recently estimated that 50 percent of Haiti's children do not attend even primary school, while 80 percent fail to reach secondary school.

This is especially true in rural areas such as La Montagne, where students are described as the "poorest of the poor" Haitian children. Many of these children lack shoes, pens, notebooks and other basic supplies required for school attendance.

Elevating Haitian Education was born in 2011, after Sheridan witnessed the dire conditions in which La Montagne’s children attend school, and the difficulties of so many families to provide a consistent educational experience for their children. EHE’s mission is to contribute to a more prosperous Haitian society by providing students access to school and enhancing schools’ capacities to provide a quality education for children.

EHE is a true partnership with the headmasters of schools in La Montagne who collectively form the Committee of Education of La Montagne (CEL). Our shared goal is to provide 51 of La Montagne’s most promising students a consistent education and support them as they complete school, preparing them for a lifetime of opportunity. Together, EHE and CEL collaboratively established three criteria for students’ continued enrollment: exemplary academic performance, consistent attendance, and parental involvement. Approximately 90% of children receiving scholarship support through EHE have consistently met these stringent criteria and advanced through four or more years of school, meaning that they are making great strides toward graduation.

Students who can afford to attend must sit in classrooms torn apart by the magnitude 7.0 earthquake that claimed more than 200,000 lives in January 2010. The earthquake left La Montagne's schools in need of extensive structural repairs essential for the shelter and safety of their students.

After witnessing these conditions — and meeting so many Haitians working to overcome them — Sheridan immediately began asking how she could help.

"I don't feel sorry for the Haitian people," Sheridan said. "Rather, I feel compelled to help them meet their own goals. With my own privilege comes responsibility, and that feeling is overwhelming when spending time in a place like La Montagne."

About Friends of the Children

Since its 1998 inception, the Wisconsin-based nonprofit organization completes two-week missions twice per year to La Montagne, Haiti. On each mission, the organization's volunteers -- including physicians, registered nurses, physical and respiratory therapists, and others with and without medical backgrounds – evaluate and treat between 3000 and 4000 patients. Friends of the Children focused primarily on the treatment, education and prevention of afflictions such as malaria, intestinal parasites, typhoid fever, malnourishment, hypertension, diabetes, high risk pregnancies, and a host of other life-threatening, but treatable, conditions. In addition, they provide education and medical supplies to community health care workers and midwives.

For more information on Friends of the Children, or to make a donation to the medical mission, contact

Help Elevate Haitian Education By Donating Today

Elevating Haitian Education is partnering with Friends of the Children – a nonprofit organization that has worked directly with the Haitian people since 1998 – to ensure that La Montagne's children receive the educational opportunities every child deserves.

Our generous donors ensure that 51 Haitian students and their families can afford tuition and supplies every year until they graduate from high school.


Haiti's poverty and our privilege mean that even small donations can make large impacts. In fact, between $50 and $100 is typically enough to send a child of La Montagne to school for an entire year.

Designating Gifts
Email Address:

Donating by Check

Checks should be made out to Friends of the Children and mailed to the following address:

  • Friends of the Children
    c/o Sue Sheridan-Statz
    7900 Dougan Drive
    Lincoln, NE 68516

The Fine Print

Friends of the Children is a nonprofit, tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization as specified by the United States Internal Revenue Code. Consequently, donations can be claimed as tax deductible.

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