Four years ago this week, a magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck the Caribbean nation of Haiti. The tragedy left 1.5 million citizens displaced from their homes, hundreds of thousands dead and devastated an already depressed economy.
Today, Haiti remains the poorest country in the Americas. And while much has been done to aid Haiti’s recovery, a staggering eighty percent of the population lives below the poverty line.
Poverty keeps millions of children from accessing the world of knowledge that books provide. First Book is committed to changing that, by bringing badly-needed books and educational materials to children in countries like Haiti. Last month we had the opportunity to deliver books to kids in Haiti’s capital city of Port au Prince, a donation made possible through First Book’s longstanding partnership with Jet Blue.
At Ecole Herve Romain, a local school in the Port au Prince “red-zone” of Bel-Air known for high crime and extreme poverty, 250 students previously had to share 50 books between them. Now they have a library of 500 new titles to read and explore.
In addition to providing books, First Book staff met with representatives from USAID and other global and national NGOs in hopes of creating partnerships that lead to more educational resources for Haiti’s kids in need.
“We believe that one book can change the world,” said Kyle Zimmer, president and CEO of First Book. “But we also know that building relationships with partners in Haiti and around the globe will be critical in to achieving our goal of providing books and educational resources to 10 million children in need worldwide by 2016. We want to understand local needs and connect the dots so that kids in need all over the world can read, learn and rise out of poverty.”