Visit schoolofchoice.net for
more information on ways to help and an upcoming fundraiser.
If you've ever donated money through Zynga while
killing time on Facebook, you may have helped a local DePaul
University professor build a school for impoverished children in
Haiti last year.
The l'Ecole de Choix (School of Choice) opened in October
2011 thanks to those Zynga funds and the efforts of Laura Pincus
Hartman, a Chicago mom of two and professor of business ethics at
DePaul. The school provides food, water and education to more than
180 children ages 4-10 who otherwise wouldn't be able to afford to
go to school or have a healthy meal.
But Hartman is hoping the school does more than fill minds
and bellies. She sees education as a way to create future leaders
of Haiti who can help guide the country to a better future. Even
children from the most dire circumstances can grow up to change the
world if given the opportunity, she says.
"We believe that there are all types of leaders and we
don't expect all 183 children will be president or a CEO, but we
believe that they will all be leaders in whatever they choose to
do," Hartman says.
Hartman has been a professor at DePaul for 23 years. Her
work has focused on global labor issues and the balance between
employee and employer rights. She decided to take that knowledge,
along with her fluency in French, and focus her attention on Haiti
in 2003. In 2009, she worked with DePaul to create a microfinance
initiative. She's adamant that people understand the work she does
in Haiti, including the school, is not part of a charity but
provides financial resources to help people lift themselves out of
"The people doing the work in Haiti, they're not a
charity, they're partners," she says. "These people bring resources
to the table, too."
But the most important way to help Haiti is to educate its
children, Hartman says.
"I believe that education is the key. It opens the
Liz DeCarlo is the former senior editor at Chicago Parent.
See more of Liz's stories here.
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