In the small village of Lasserre, located 20 miles outside Haiti’s capital, Port au Prince, there is no hospital or clinic, no managing authorities for the village’s 5,000 residents, and sixty percent of children do not attend school due to rising costs and barriers in transportation. Nonprofit Lasserre’s Own Hands is actively changing that statistic.
The nonprofit provides free education to the children of the village of Lasserre. Co-Founder Schendy Kernizan recalls growing up outside of the small town, his future uncertain. He was fortunate enough that his parents were able to send him abroad to go to college, at Philadelphia University (Now Thomas Jefferson University).
“I grew up in Haiti, where more than 60% of the community doesn't have access to formal education,” he says. “I was very fortunate to have parents who could afford to send me to college abroad. The work that we are doing now with Lasserre's Own Hands is a way to pay it forward to a community that raised my family and I.”
Schendy and his family established Lasserre’s Own Hands in 2015, which has currently raised over $66,000in funds for the school. After constructing the now operational school buildings, the organization has an ongoing mission aimed at maintaining the buildings, funding its teachers' salaries and training, and providing daily supplies and food to its students.
Not only does the organization provide an educational future for the children who attend, it provides hope for the parents who are able to give their children the tools for success: “It is extremely inspiring to watch parents who didn't have access to an education, have the opportunity to send their children to school. We are creating opportunities that didn't exist, and inspiring young individuals to dream!”