The American Red Cross has announced a $2.7 million initiative to provide financial support to Haitian families affected by last year's earthquake to help their children attend school.
The program, which targets children between the ages of 5 and 19 in the Port-au-Prince neighborhood of Croix Deprez, will provide the families of some three thousand students with vouchers to cover school fees as well as a cash grant of $100 for school-related expenses. The program is open to families who live in one of the three Croix Deprez refugee camps and will cover school expenses for the remainder of the current academic year.
Haiti has one of the lowest literacy rates in the world, and the need to get children back in school is critical. The Haitian Ministry of Education has given the program its approval, and nearly two hundred schools are participating.
"This is a terrific program," said Matthew Marek, head of programs for the American Red Cross in Haiti. "Children get an education, and cash-strapped families can use their savings for other pressing needs."