A Story of Hope from Haiti

Call to Family, Community and Participation

Catholic social teaching inspires and guides how we are to live and work in the world. In this principle, Call to Family, Community and Participation, we remember that human beings are social by nature-we need each other. We, like the early disciples, are called to come together and grow as a community-whether that community is in our classroom, workplace or family.

Encounter Andrise

“Education is the foundation of everything,” says Andrise, who’s been a first-grade teacher at a small Catholic school for 11 years. It’s the same school she attended from first through sixth grade, in the community she calls home in northern Haiti.

Andrise says the opportunities at Notre Dame set the course for her life. But a lot has changed since she was a student. New teaching techniques and resources are changing how students learn—and how teachers teach. “We use poems, dances, songs—all sorts of activities to help the students improve their literacy,” she says.

And Catholic Relief Services—working with the Catholic Education Commission in Haiti—is leading the way. Every student receives a new workbook to practice their reading and writing. This is a big change from before, when students had to copy notes from the board. “Now, all the students are able to learn at the same time,” Andrise says. And she benefits too—from ongoing teacher training. Last year, the parish priest named her Teacher of the Year.

The new techniques are working: Andrise’s classroom is a high-energy place, and the students love school—and her. “They call me ‘my mother,’ and I call them ‘my son, my daughter,” she says. “They’ve already promised that next year, when they’re in second grade, they’ll take time out of their recess to come and visit me.” For a teacher like Andrise, seeing the children grow not just as students, but as people, is the reason she goes to work each day.

Learn more about CRS’ work in Haiti.

Try our simple meal from Haiti: Haitian Vegetable Stew.