Hinche Scholars Project
On January 12, 2010, Haiti was struck by a tragic earthquake that ravaged this Caribbean nation. Hundreds of thousands of lives were lost, with an equal number of residential and commercial buildings destroyed. Response to the quake was hampered by damage to Haiti’s infrastructure. Health, communication and transportation systems were all severely impaired, if not completely obliterated. Minister of Education Joel Jean-Pierre stated that the education system had “totally collapsed”, with about half the nation’s schools and the three primary universities in the capital city of Port-au-Prince affected.
Danny Yates, a student at William & Mary, was in the small village of Hinche at the time of the earthquake. Upon returning to the United States, Danny made it his mission to help displaced college students from Haiti to continue their education. He joined forces with “I Have A Dream” Foundation® – Richmond, who was also pursuing bringing Haitian students to the United States, thus the Hinche Scholars program was born. After many months of preparation, four selected students arrived in Richmond, Virginia in August 2011 to continue their higher education here in the United States. Three are here in Richmond at J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College and one is at Elizabeth City State University in North Carolina. Their desire is to return to Haiti to become strong leaders in their community, and our desire is to help them by providing the education they need to be successful.