As a child, Abadice Etienne's destiny was to quit school and work on a Haitian plantation. But sponsorship allowed Abadice to graduate from high school and now he's working in his community.
Each day Abadice Etienne engages in battle. He duels with the discouragement facing poor parents who want to send their children to school. He fights the fears of families who are superstitious and believe their future is bleak. This 25-year-old project worker at the Fauché Student Center (HA-311) struggles each day to convince members of his community that a mixture of belief in Christ, education and hope can lead them out of poverty. If they only knew what he knows.
A Changed Destiny
More than two decades ago, Abadice, the firstborn of a family of nine, had one destiny - grow up, drop out of school, and work with his father to support his siblings. This was the only future for a boy growing up in the crowded, impoverished coastal village of Port-Mango, Haiti. But when Abadice's parents registered him at the Compassion-assisted Fauché Student Center, he received the promise of a new future.
Instead of working in the farm fields, Abadice attended school. Instead of practicing voodoo like the majority of his community, Abadice joined the center's spiritual club. He read the Bible. He led devotions. He accepted Christ as his Savior.
And when his father abandoned the family - leaving his mother to care for seven children by sewing and selling dresses for $.50 a piece - the skills Abadice learned at the center allowed him to make enough money to continue attending school.
A Changed Life
Instead of dropping out of school, Abadice became one of the few children in his community to actually graduate from high school. Now he's a young man waiting on his law application to be accepted at a state university in Cap-Haitien, the second largest city in Haiti.
"Every time I look at the other young people in my town who had no chance to go to school for an education," Abadice says, "I realize and understand much more the importance of Compassion International and its impact in my life."
The young man says his introduction to Christ became a beacon of hope, allowing him to think beyond the poor environment of Port-Mango and dream about a future. This outlook is rare in a community in which 65 percent of children are not in school and 80 percent of working-age adults are unemployed.
"Parents who have dreams for their children are persecuted or hated by those who have no dreams or no opportunity to send their children to school," Abadice says.
While he waits on university acceptance, Abadice spends his days as a social worker at the Fauché¼¯span> Student Center. Each day he encourages parents and children, telling them there is a better future - even for people living in Port-Mango. After all, Abadice is living proof.
"I want Fauché¼¯span> Student Center to become one of the greatest agents of change in the community," he says. "If my life can be transformed by the project, then others' lives can also be transformed and my whole community will be transformed as well. I pray that Compassion continues to impact the lives of children and their parents in Haiti for years to come."
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