We had the opportunity to spend time with impressive 9th grader Lorry Augustave.
Following her through a typical day at the Academy for Peace and Justice, we hung out with her friends between class, spoke with her teachers, and learned more about Lorry’s story. Later that week, we paid a visit to her neighborhood in Port-au-Prince to see how free access to quality secondary education has created a positive ripple effect, changing Lorry and her entire family’s life for the better.
At fourteen years old, an age when most kids are fretting over braces, crushes, and clothes, Lorry has one thing on her mind: education.
We asked Lorry what APJ meant to her and how school has changed her life. We were pretty blown away by her answer. Lorry replied, “I did not have money to go to school, I found this school and it has changed my life.” It’s that simple.
A voracious reader and curious student, Lorry is like most smart, hard working girls around the world. Her favorite subject is French and she enjoys playing with her friends after school. She has two older brothers and an older sister she looks up to, and a little pet kitten.
The only difference is that Lorry, like 80% of children in Haiti, never expected to attend school past the 6th grade. More than half of Haitian families live in extreme poverty and simply can’t afford to send their children to school, nevertheless high school or college. That’s why we work to make sure every single one of our students receives a full scholarship. When asked what is her favorite thing about attending the Academy for Peace and Justice, Lorry replied, “I would like to know everything, so I’m always excited to come back.”
A couple days later we got the opportunity to go meet Lorry’s family. Her mother Rejeanne works as a saleswoman in the local marketplace and her father Jean is a mechanic and driver. When Lorry gets home from school she helps with a long list of household chores, cleaning clothes, sweeping, peeling fruit, cooking, and feeding chickens.
The best part is watching the way her mother Rejeanne lovingly looks on, tying intricate clips and ribbons in Lorry’s hair and asking about her day at school. She is so proud.
“I want my children to go to school because school is life.” Rejeanne never had the same opportunities as Lorry. We asked if she had the chance to attend high school, she told us, “No, previously it was different for women, and my parents did not have money.” We’re happy to say confidently that no financial obstacles, political obstacles, or gender barriers will keep Lorry from the education that she, and every girl and boy, so deserves.
That’s why we believe so deeply in the power of education to create long-term, sustainable change. Over the past five years we’ve watched the positive ripple effect progress and expand. Our students are becoming leaders among their friends and role models in their communities, an example of what’s possible when we invest in the future in Haiti.
We asked Rejeanne how she’s witnessed the ways education has changed her daughter Lorry, to which she replied, “Completely.” Our model is simple: we believe in empowering local communities, fostering economic growth, and the power of education to change a nation.
Join APJ, Lorry, and the Augustave family on this journey together!