Tilus' Daily Struggle for Education

Aura Copeland with Tilus at Pierre Maurice School in Delmas 31, Haiti

Aura Copeland with Tilus at Pierre Maurice School in Delmas 31, Haiti

Tilus is a very ambitious and talented boy. He is 17 and will soon graduate from Pierre Maurice School in Delmas 31, Haiti. The school was built by the UN and it is meant to serve some of the most  impoverished families in the neighborhood. We chose to interview Tilus, but his story is just one of many....

10 months ago Tilus enrolled into our CREATE program, which is designed to foster children's creativity, cognitive skills, to heal and inspire them through arts education. Our teachers noticed the timid yet very talented student and we decided to share his story here. The boys' parents live in the countryside, far away from Port-au-Prince.  Tilus is left at the care of his aunt and a few cousins that themselves have a hard time to make ends meet. The boy gets up every morning at 5 am and goes to a local fruit and vegetable market to help merchants unload their heavy boxes. Tilus spends 4 hours each morning working so he can earn 25 gourdes (not even 50 cents) to buy himself the first and only meal of the day. Afterwards, he goes back home, puts on his uniform and by 11 am he gets to school. Most of the time he misses morning classes and even when he shows up, he is already very tired. Despite the daily struggle the boy dares to dream and when we asked about his future plans, he said he would love to become a doctor or an architect. How possible are these dreams considering these circumstances? Where will Tilus go after he graduates? Will his talent go to waste or should we find a way to cultivate it? ...These were the questions running through my mind while listening to his story, one of many such stories here, at the Pierre Maurice School. 

Aura Copeland

Should Your Company Support a Charity?

First of all, it is important to choose a relevant cause. It should go with the mission of your company and be related, in one way or another, to the products you are producing or with your target market. For example, it makes sense that a company producing childcare products chooses a charity that supports children in under-developed countries.
Whichever cause your organization decides to support, the benefits of giving are multiple. Here are some of them:

1. Identifying with a cause. It is very helpful for your organization to have an identity besides the corporate mission - it builds your image with consumers as a "company with a soul" that cares about more significant things than just profits.

2. Attracting top talent. An identity of your organization as ethical and conscious will help you attract the best professionals in your area.

3. How you will look to the world.  Anyone who visits your website - clients, business partners, employees, media - will be able to see the cause that you are supporting, and that will help to re-enforce the positive image of your organization in all the visitors' minds.

4. Charity will help your networking. By being a charity sponsor you will have access to various charity events, among them VIP ones, where you will be able to network with like-minded individuals and perhaps establish new business contacts or simply to spread the word about your company.

5. Employee loyalty. Everyone wants to work at a company that supports a beautiful cause, and this will rise the energy and commitment of your employees to your organization.

6. Tax deduction. When you are contributing to a 501c3 charity organization, you might be able to claim your contributions on your income taxes.

7. Giving a chance to your customers to help. When you claim that a certain percentage of your sales go to charity, your customers will know that by buying your product they will be contributing, too.
And above it all - you will be doing good, and giving back is what makes us the most happy, according to psychologists. So go ahead, select a charity organization you believe in, and start supporting it.
It takes so little to do something so big.

Raminta Lilaite