Hinche Scholars Update on the First Anniversary of Haiti’s Earthquake: Oprah Cruise Raffle and CSPAN Appearance

On the one year anniversary of the tragic 7.0 magnitude earthquake which killed nearly 250,000 in Port-au-Prince, we at the Hinche Scholars project strongly believe that Haiti’s future rests with its youth and we see higher education as the key to a successful recovery.

The Hinche Scholars Project: Helping Haiti Through Higher Education came about last spring when William and Mary student Danny Yates returned to the U.S. after surviving the January 12 earthquake. Since that time we have worked to carve out an education opportunity for a handful of talented, displaced Haitian college students, all of whom were in university at the time of the quake. With 90% of the higher education sector still trapped under the rubble of Port-au-Prince, we have searched for a way to help these young people who dream finish their studies in the United States.

Thanks to Barber-Scotia College, a small, historically black institution in Concord, North Carolina (just outside of Charlotte), these students’ dream may soon become a reality. With your continued support, both financial and otherwise, we can make it happen! We are hopeful that the Hinche Scholars can arrive at Barber-Scotia in Spring 2011 (right now we are still waiting on the visa process).

Already, eight students from Hinche earned nearly a semester’s worth of college credit this fall when two professors travelled from North Carolina to Hinche for a month long, intensive ”mini-semester” which focused on ESL (English as a second language), history, civics, and more. This opportunity was only possible thanks to the generosity of donors here in Richmond and elsewhere.

Recently, our efforts were recognized on the Oprah Winfrey Show. As part of that honor, we received four all-expense paid Royal Caribbean Cruise packages. On this first anniversary of the earthquake, we are raffling off this “Dream Vacation,” with all proceeds going toward our scholarship fund. Raffle tickets are $25 and are selling fast. For more information and to purchase a ticket, please visit www.ihaveadreamrichmond.org.

Additionally, Hinche Scholars representatives appeared live on C-SPAN last Monday, January 10 during a Haiti forum held at the Brookings Institution. I Have a Dream Foundation project coordinator Danny Yates posed a question to a panelist of Haiti experts. To watch Danny’s question and hear responses from actor Sean Penn, USAID officials and others, please visit www.hincherelief.wordpress.com.

Alumni Danny Yates at Brookings Institution