This fund exists to support Methodist schools in Haiti, training and pay for teachers, funding for children’s tuition, and feeding pupils who would otherwise go hungry.
In the early years of the 20th century, Methodist missionaries from England arrived in Haiti and went out into remote, isolated areas to train local pastors to establish congregations.
The Rev. Alain Rocourt was the first native Haitian to graduate from seminary and be fully ordained by the Methodist Church of England. Rev. Rocourt understood the poverty and distress of his people, especially in the most remote areas of the island. He knew that increasing the general level of education among Haitians would help both the Methodist Church and the country in general. So it was at his urging that the Methodist Church of Haiti began to establish schools.
In 1984, Methodists from Illinois traveled to Haiti on a Volunteer in Mission trip to build a school for the Methodist Church in Leveque. They helped to improve the very primitive conditions that made basic learning a challenge: how does a child learn to write without a desk, paper, or pencil? Today, there are about 100 Methodist schools in Haiti. The church seeks to begin educating children as early as possible, so kindergarten studies may begin as early as age 3.
In honor and memory of Rev. Alain Rocourt and to help support these schools, lay person, William Hylbert started the Alain Rocourt Endowment Fund. The fund is carefully and faithfully invested to provide a perpetual source of income. Its resources will continue to provide educational support for the children of Haiti for years to come.
The situation in Haiti has received tremendous media attention in the past years as its people have been rocked by both political turmoil and natural disasters. Problems are great, and resources are almost non-existent. This makes paying tuition an impossible task for most families. Even if tuition is provided many Haitian children would have to walk two hours each way to get to school, due to the isolation of the population.
For many years Haiti has been ranked as the poorest nation in the western hemisphere. The problems of Haiti can seem overwhelming, yet there is great hope. The church offers a better future for the children of Haiti through increasing the level of general education from the 65% of the population that is illiterate to the 42% of school-age children unable to attend school.
"Adding another school is like putting onto your shoulder a new burden and wondering how you are going to carry it," said Rev. Raphael Dessieu, present of I'Eglise Methodiste d'Haiti, during a visit to the Illinois Great Rivers Conference in March 2004. Adding to the opportunity for more Haitian children to attend school is stepping out in faith. It is an intentional effort at increasing not only the level of eduction, but also the amount of hope shared by the Methodists of Haiti, Illinois Great Rivers United Methodists, and others whom God now calls to this vital mission.
here are now almost 25,000 children enrolled in Methodist schools in Haiti. Still, more schools and more teachers are needed in order to reach more children.
“Adding another school is like putting onto your shoulder a new burden and wondering how you are going to carry it,” said Rev. Raphael Dessieu (President of l’Eglise Methodiste d’Haiti) during his visit to the Illinois Great Rivers Conference in March 2004. Adding to the opportunity for more Haitian children to attend school is stepping out in faith. It is an intentional effort at increasing not only the level of education, but also the amount of hope shared by the Methodists of Haiti, Illinois Great Rivers United Methodists, and others whom God now calls to this vital mission.
We invite you to share in this mission, this hope, this faith, by supporting the Alain Rocourt Endowment Fund. Contributions of any amount are helpful and may be made by mailing your gift to: The Alain Rocourt Endowment, P. O. Box 3487, Springfield, IL 62708-3487. Please indicate on your check that the gift is for IGRC Advance Special #6700.
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