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