Education Opportunities Open Doors in Haiti

USAID CASS scholars gain technical education, job training, and leadership skills in communities of Mexico, Central America, and
USAID CASS scholars gain technical education, job training, and leadership skills in communities of Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean.
Stephen Swierenga
USAID Scholarship Program Empowers Community Leader to Transform Lives at Home
Pierrot Marcel was born in Jeremie, an isolated town in western Haiti where services, supplies, and communication lines with the urban centers are scarce. Children rarely finish secondary school and many depend on menial jobs to survive. The average income ranges from $90-$300 per year.

In spite of this situation, Pierrot was able to finish high school after much perseverance and sacrifice. He was the fourth child in a family of seven and his mother, the only breadwinner, couldn’t afford to send him to college. Pierrot was given a chance to attend school through USAID-funded Cooperative Association of States for Scholarships (CASS) program administered by Georgetown University.

Over 500 Haitians have joined Pierrot Marcel through CASS in making the most of this opportunity which as a result has impacted their lives and those of countless others.

From 1990 to 1992, Pierrot studied food science and agribusiness at Kirkwood Community College in Iowa. There he learned farming techniques, the marketing of agricultural products, sanitation, and food processing and inspection. He returned to Haiti as a local consultant for USAID which he saw as a way to pay back his scholarship.

USAID provides unique educational opportunities for rural, disadvantaged young leaders like Pierrot Marcel who later contribute to the development of their countries. CASS offers technical education, job training, and leadership skills development to young adults and leaders from communities of Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean.

Returning home, Pierrot joined the non-governmental organization CARE where he applied his skills to train farmers in marketing, management, and food processing techniques. He showed them how to increase their income by adding value to their products such as processing raw cassava into flour and bread, and shipping the final product to supermarkets as far away as in Port-au-Prince.

Through USAID’s program, Pierot can now earn a good living and provide for his family’s future. Today, he is the manager of the Jeremie Station for Tropical Airways d' Haiti S.A. where he supervises all flights to Jeremie. He supports his family by financing the education of his younger brothers.  Pierrot also financially supports eleven other children to attend primary and secondary school in the Jeremie area.

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Last updated: November 27, 2013

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