Submitted by Lilli T.
Through Girl Scouts, girls learn a plethora of skills including the encouragement to reach higher. My name is Lilli and I am no exception to the adoption of these skills as through Girl Scouts I was able to accomplish an honor I never sought possible.
Last year, I connected with the Haitian school of St. Paul’s and in doing so I began to learn about the education climate in Haiti. Haitian education rates are among the lowest in the western hemisphere with a literacy rate of 61% compared to America’s 86%. 88% of eligible Haitian students are enrolled in primary school while 20% are enrolled in secondary school. The Haitian government provides very little funds for public schools, with only 10% of the government’s budget spent on public schools. 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. In acknowledgment of these statistics, and with an interest in business, I wanted to provide an extension to the 8th grade curriculum at the Haitian School of St. Paul’s by incorporating a business component into their education.
This past month, I partnered with the Colorado Haiti Project and from May 29-31, 2017 I conducted a three day business workshop for the 8th grade class of St. Paul’s Episcopal School in Petit Trou de Nippes, Haiti. During the workshop the ten students learned the five fundamentals of business: how to create a business plan, what loans are, how to design a product, how to advertise it, and ultimately how to earn a profit. Through the workshop, the students learned about the concept of supply and demand, economic competition, etc. There were five product options in which the students were able to choose from; dominos, checkers, sak through, friendship bracelets, and a home garden bed. Students were able to work in groups of two, or individually. In an effort to manage the competition, no more than three groups, or people, were able to make a product. The students began by choosing a product and proceeding to fill out a business plan and create advertisements. The following day the students took out loans from the “Monopoly Bank” and then proceed to the wholesale store in which they purchased the necessary materials to make their product(s). For the duration of the second day, students sewed, painted, colored, and braided their products. On the final day, the students finished their products and a moc-market was held in which the administration of St. Pau’ls and I purchased the students product with Monopoly money. Following the market, the students payed back half of their loan and then were able to purchase the leftover materials from the wholesale store.
The aspect of the business workshop that was most humbling was the following day when St. Paul’s hosted a community wide agricultural festival. At the festival, the students that participated in my workshop sold friendship bracelets and other products that they had made the previous night from the material they were able to purchase with the profit they had made. Through the information and encouragement provided during the business workshop students were able to make a real profit. My primary goal in working to earn 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 workforce. Witnessing these 8th graders using the fundamentals that we focused on in class and putting them to use so quickly and successfully was a true accomplishment.
Another aspect I hope to cover in earning my Gold Award is to educate those in the United States and elsewhere about the education climate in Haiti and encourage them to get involved!