Elve Germaine is a single mother, and lives in Morne Blanc with her children. She has three daughters – 12 years, 9 years and 7 years old – and one 4 year old son. Elve works as a Kindergarten Assistant at the community-based school onsite, and collects a small salary in exchange for her services.
In September 2011, an Adult Literacy programme was initiated through a community initiative and with support from Haven’s community development team. For this programme, five community mobilisers were recruited and trained onsite; these five individuals now receive a small monthly income from the program. This programme was supported by the Haitian Ministry of Education, Haven volunteers and National Irish Bank.
Before the literacy programme was launched, Elve was completely illiterate; she could not read or write and she knew that this was a problem. She actually used to lie awake at night because of her personal anxiety about being illiterate, and lived in fear that she would ever need to fill out a form or need anything that would require her signature, because she could not even write her own name. She was very excited when the literacy program was introduced in Morne Blanc, and she signed up right away.
Now that Elve is learning to read and write, she feels better about herself. As soon as the classes started, she stopped worrying about illiteracy and now sleeps peacefully at night. Elve can read just about anything in Creole now, and has learned to write her name.
She is still attending classes so she can learn even more. She is so happy that she can now read, and is teaching her youngest children the alphabet. In her own words, Elve now feels like a more complete person and a better parent.