In America these days, tailoring and sewing seems to be limited to bridal gowns and groomsmen’s tuxedos for The Big Day. Everyday clothes, school uniforms, and formal clothes are bought at a department store and then given to a second-hand clothing store once they have outlived their popularity. In Haiti, the fashion world is quite different. Department stores are not as common in rural areas and it is a normal routine for someone to buy a type of fabric they like and then visit a seamstress or tailor in order to have their clothes made. School uniforms are required for all children from Pre-K to High school and these are also made by local tailors.
School, however, is expensive for most of the people in Haiti. It is not uncommon for teenagers to drop out of school even before they start high school because they are unable to pay approximately $200 tuition each year. Their unfortunate lack of education is then compounded by a lack of jobs that pay a living wage.
Here is where Act-For-The-Future comes in. In Gros-Morne, Haiti, we have a dedicated group of Haitian men and women running a professional school teaching the very in-demand trade of sewing (tailoring). Our students are primarily teenagers and despite ranging in age from young teen to young adult with kids, they share a similar story: all have dropped out of school because they were unable to pay tuition.
At Act-For-The-Future, we offer low-cost (often free) education to local residents because we believe that education is the path to successfully breaking the cycle of poverty. Our students complete rigorous coursework in sewing, tailoring, and designing clothing so that they can make enough money to complete their high school degrees. Since the school started in 2013, we have had one class graduate from their two-year program and in our second class, have almost doubled in our student enrollment! Our school is entirely Haitian-led and Haitian-run, supported by a volunteer Board of Directors in the United States that exists entirely to support, encourage, and fundraise for our staff in Haiti. We currently employ one teacher, Nadej, and heavily rely on the volunteer efforts of our Organizational Director, Rene, and second teacher, Josué.
Our fourth school year is rapidly approaching and we are looking forward to bringing back our 34 second-year students and welcoming our new class. Our new class has started because of interest in the community. Our director and teachers have had so many people asking to join the school that they are working hard not to have to turn anyone away! Please join us in supporting our staff and our new and returning students. You partner with us in prayer by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org in order to be added to our newsletter, and you can partner with us financially by clicking the “Donate Now” link on our homepage.