Providing Opportunity, Finding Purpose: A Haitian Student's Journey to University


This piece is written by Phanuel, a Haitian student whom ACCESS has sponsored to attend university. We all grow up with a tradition. We do things that we do not chose, and often do not try to understand why. I first started to recognize this when found myself going to school. I never asked myself why I was going to school or what was the purpose of going to school? I guess most kids on my age go to school, then I will just follow the tradition. Until when I was in Junior High school, my mentor was giving a sermon on a ritual Sunday service and asked the church, "what is your goal and what is your purpose in life?" 

This is where everything stopped and the world completely changed for me. I started to realize that I was living without a goal and a purpose. I started to seek for a dream and find a purpose for my life. A dream should be specific, measurable, realistic, and so on. However, in a country that is one of the poorest in the world, those theories are hard to apply — because we young Haitians do not have enough access or resources to achieve our goals. (Note: Haiti is the most impoverished nation in the Western Hemisphere. Only 27% complete primary education).


This is how ACCESS changed my life and opened a great door for me. ACCESS helped me to go to college after high school, starting in August 2009 at Universite Notre Dame d'Haiti. Even after the Earthquake blew through my country in 2010, ACCESS is still helping me to go to college in San Antonio, Texas USA.

Being in college in USA is to carry a challenge, and grow in life. One thing that we do not like is to change. That is my biggest challenge in College. First, my school is a cross-cultural university that has students from more than 17 different nations. Second, I need to change my existing lifestyle and mindset. I have to open my door to new cultures and different foods, for instance (which has made me in love with tacos and burritos).

My university experience has given me the opportunity to take new steps in my life. It is not simply an academic study; it is provides a lot of opportunities, which make me start working on my career and learn how I could become a good leader. For instance, this semester I am the President of a student organization, the Mission Society, so I can help others, along with one of my classes giving me the opportunity to do an internship at Hospice Vitas Care.

I think this is what makes ACCESS a unique and amazing organization. Personally, ACCESS is not like other traditional organizations that came to just give you food, money, and so on. Rather, ACCESS supports your dream, and helps you to build that dream. With a blessing, I found this great organization that has opened new doors and a new world to me. Now I am no longer dreaming, but living my dream and looking forward for bigger and better things. Thank you ACCESS!

A Message from ACCESS

Since 2009, ACCESS has been honoured to help provide Phanuel with access to an education. Upon completing his education, Phanuel plans to return to Haiti to begin making a difference to the people in his community, and to continue the work of rebuilding his country. ACCESS is thankful for the generous support of donors over the past several years to make this dream possible.

For more background, please visit the Phanuel Project page, or explore our other International Projects.

ACCESS: Allowing Children a Chance at Education is a youth-run, non-profit organization that facilitates education and empathetic leadership development through initiatives that engage, inspire, and motivate youth to drive positive change, locally and globally. ACCESS envisions the empowerment of generations of leaders through education in order to inspire meaningful development in their own communities.