Eyvanise Learns to Write Her Name

Writing our name is an act we do daily without thinking. But for 60-year-old Eyvanise Joseph - writing her name is something she learned to do only this year. Eyvanise is part of a co-operative run by the Foundation for International Development Assistance - partners with Crossroads Relief and Development. The co-operatives bring local farmers together to invest and profit from the benefits of co-ownership - a business model that is lifting close to 3000 Haitians out of years of poverty. But the success of a co-operative depends on more than agricultural training and smart investment.

Haitian literacy rates are some of the worst in the world. In rural areas - close to 80% of the population is illiterate. Seeing the need, the organization introduced a literacy training program for co-operative members - teaching people in their native Creole to read and write for the first time. For them, the ability to read and write is the key to future success and self-determination. Their illiteracy was being like an animal with a noose tied around their neck and now they feel they are fully human. Literacy is at the root of this sense of empowerment. And its revolutionary to the country of Haiti - which has long depended on handouts from aid organizations.

When you give a human that choice to be able to know their name, to be able to know who they are, to be able to understand that they have value.  You have not just transformed a human being, you have transformed a family, you have transformed a community and you have transformed a country.  

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