I am Isabelle JOSEPH, a twenty-five-year-old woman from the North of Haiti. I have had to work hard to achieve my own educational and career goals, yet I find joy in everything I do. And I hope my positive attitude will help me to bring progress to my country.
When I was seven years old, my parents divorced. I was moved from family member to family member, and from my father’s to my mother’s home then my stepmother’s home; consequently, I didn’t have a chance to feel rooted in one place or have the close friendships that other children had. I had a hard life, but with God and with the support from advisors, I found the courage to keep on fighting.
I worked hard at school and I often ranked first place even at official exams. But I rarely felt well at school because I had so little to eat at home. The other challenge for me was that my family always owed money to the school for my fees, but because I had a compassionate school Director, I was permitted to complete my secondary education. When I was in Philo (senior year in High School), I heard on the radio about HELP, an organization offering university scholarships based on academic excellence, and so I applied…and I was awarded a scholarship. Without HELP, I would never have been able to afford college.
HELP enabled me to go to Quisqueya University in Port au Prince, one of Haiti’s best universities. During my time as a HELP Scholar, in addition to the scholarship, they provided counseling services, a leadership program, English and computer classes, housing, and a monthly stipend. They also encouraged my volunteering within my community. As a condition of the scholarship, I had to always keep my grades above seven (B minus average), but that then opened up additional opportunities for me, including my internship at Lidè, which then led to my current full-time position, and a chance to study abroad in the summer of 2016.
Now I am working as the Education Coordinator at Lidè Foundation. I supervise monitors, coordinate the tutoring program, mentor apprentices and tutors, lead and train facilitators for our literacy programs, and I have a chance to be a part of giving scholarships to girls who like me when I was young, would not be able to afford an education otherwise. I am really thankful to be able to do work I really enjoy doing.
My dream is to learn more about Education and perhaps complete a doctorate in curriculum development, educational psychology, or educational leadership so that I can keep on helping my community. Education has changed my future. I believe Education can change the futures of all Haitians. I plan to dedicate my life to helping others through education. That is my vocation and my passion.