The Joseph School (TJS) is a private school located in Cabaret, Haiti, and is currently serving 150 students in 1st – 5th grades. Public school as we know it is practically non-existent in Haiti and privately-run schools are very expensive when you compare it to the average Haitian household earnings of two US dollars per day. Unfortunately, with Haiti being the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere, 50% of Haitian children do not attend school at all and of those that do, 80% do not attend school beyond 6th grade.
Our family got involved with The Joseph School through Jim Bryson, a member of Nashville First whose vision resulted in the founding of TJS and whose leadership has been instrumental in its growth and operation. Jim first visited Haiti shortly after a devastating earthquake in 2010 and after much prayer, became convicted that the key to positive change could only come through strong, Christ-centered Haitian servant leaders.
TJS students receive a globally competitive education that is almost unheard of in Haiti. The current curriculum is focused on reading and writing in their native Creole language, with French and English instruction as well. Other key subjects are math, the sciences, and Haitian culture and history. Throughout this instruction, students are taught to know and love Jesus Christ through worship, devotional time, and Bible stories. At the core of TJS’s curriculum is a leadership model designed to produce servant leaders in the image of Christ who love their country, and as adults, will be prepared to lead their country toward lasting, sustainable change. Our students are bright, loving, and inquisitive, with a high potential for learning and growing. They receive a high-quality education from talented and dedicated teachers and staff.
The Joseph School is funded almost entirely from voluntary gifts and donations from within the United States, including dozens of loyal supporters who are members of Nashville First. A generous gift from our church funded The Joseph School’s basic campus infrastructure and the first classroom building, housing Kindergarten through 2nd grade classrooms.
Our support for TJS started through prayers and gifts. Over time, we observed how the hand of God was instrumental in bringing together the people and circumstances needed to get the school started and to sustain its growth. Each member of our family has travelled to Haiti several times to serve, observe, and get to know the students and staff. Both of our daughters have had the privilege of traveling to Haiti to serve TJS as a part of Nashville First’s Senior Mission Trip. Our involvement with TJS has been a true blessing from God that has strengthened our faith and enabled us to form personal relationships with many of the Haitian students and staff along with a group of dedicated staff and volunteers in the US. This ministry has become very personal to us over the years and is a key focus of our prayers, gifts, and time.
We dream of the time when The Joseph School’s first class of students graduates high school as adults, prepared to attend universities and take up leadership roles in their families, their communities, and their nation. We dream and pray that TJS’s vision for a globally-competitive education combined with a focus on Christ-centered servant leadership becomes a model for other Haitian schools.
We would love for this to become your dream as well! Donor support is critically important, because most of our students come from very poor families who cannot afford tuition, or they are orphans. In lieu of tuition, we require the parents of our students to serve at least 5 hours per month at the school, cooking, cleaning, and providing other support. Some of our parents also make the uniforms for the students. Gifts from the US pay the full-time salaries for approximately 40 teachers and staff, two meals per day for the students (which are often the only meals they receive), curriculum, classroom buildings, and the campus infrastructure needed to operate a school. The Joseph School’s vision is to add one grade per year through 12th grade growing to a total enrollment of 390 students.
Would you please prayerfully consider supporting The Joseph School with a monetary gift? We promise that your gifts will be used carefully and purposefully to help these precious children in need.
As part of our 200th events, our church is committed to purchasing 200 uniforms and Bibles for The Joseph School. Offering envelopes will be available in church pews from January to March. Checks should be made payable to Nashville First, with “The Joseph School” in the memo line.
Written by Susie Roberson