Calerke's dream to become an engineer would have just been fantasy without help from Compassion.
"I want to be an engineer."
The statement was simple, a dream declaration by a child. But as Calerke Saint-Germain announced his dream job, his father couldn't help but wonder how such a dream would come true. As a farmer, Calerke's father made about $1.40 a day planting bananas and corn. The money was barely enough to feed Calerke and his two brothers and two sisters. There was nothing left over for books, uniforms or school supplies. Education was a luxury.
But enrollment at the Compassion-assisted Hostin Child Development Center (HA-192) has put Calerke well on his way to achieving his dream, uttered when he was just 5 years old.
"If it were not for this program today," says Calerke, now 16, "I would not have the privilege to eat, to be in school, and I think that I would be on the street looking for a little job in order to eat something."
A Chance to Dream
Poverty makes education elusive in the community of Hostin, about 30 miles north of Port-au-Prince. The majority of people living in Hostin earn a living in agriculture, farming or raising animals such as goats, pigs or cows. Only a few own their own land.
Most children leave school to help their families on the farms. Consequently, 78 percent of students in Hostin do not complete elementary school. And of those, only 12 percent graduate from high school. Even fewer go on to college. In this context, Calerke's dream of becoming an engineer seemed more like fantasy.
"I would never think of such a profession for my boy," says Calerke's father. "Why (an engineer)? A poor man like me would never be able to afford paying for such studies for my children."
The Saint-Germain family says Compassion allows Calerke to dream of a professional career because the program alleviates the burden of providing school supplies, books and uniforms.
"If it weren't for (Compassion's) program we would have to look for money to pay (for education) and struggle," says Chrisnel, Calerke's older brother, also a Compassion-assisted child.
Improving Family Life
It's not all work and no play for Calerke though. When Calerke isn't studying, he enjoys playing soccer. But what he likes most is the Spiritual Club that he participates in at the Evangelical Church of Hostin, which runs his Compassion project. The club is designed to engage teens in Christianity. Each Saturday, Calerke and his brother Chrisnel go to the church to learn Bible scriptures, sing songs and practice Christian plays. Calerke says he's been asked to lead worship and devotionals.
"Those kinds of activities make my fear disappear," he says.
Calerke's father says he has seen a wonderful improvement in his family's life, thanks to Compassion and sponsorship. He says he looks forward to seeing his sons growing up to become two of the most successful people from Hostin.
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