Posted on February 04, 2022 in: Outreach to Haiti
"For I know well the plans I have in mind for you—oracle of the LORD—plans for your welfare and not for woe, so as to give you a future of hope." (Jeremiah 29:11)
These words of Jeremiah, remind us God knows each of us and has plans so that we may have a future of hope. The Diocese of Norwich Outreach to Haiti, knows well how important hope is for the men, women, and children who live in Haiti. Through our Medical Clinic, Health Care Services, Food and Nutritional Supplements Program, Education Sponsorship Program, and our Parish Twinning Program, hope is a shining beacon to those who live in economic poverty.
Please meet Dr. Sherley Sainterve, who was given the opportunity to earn an education and realize her life-long dream thanks to the Outreach Education Sponsorship Program. In her own words, she shares her experience.
I grew up with a big expectation on my shoulders just as any first-born in my community. My mother had to work hard to make sure we had the housing and food we needed. Although I have experienced the lack of basic needs, it has not stopped me from aiming for great things in life. Education was a real privilege in the neighborhood where I grew up. Most of the girls stayed at home and devoted their days to housework; the boys would do nothing.
My life changed the day I was selected for the Outreach to Haiti Student Sponsorship Program that provided me a scholarship. We celebrated after my mother came home with the greatest news ever; my tuition was going to be taken care of by people – I had no idea who they were. I can still remember my parents crying with joy; I was jumping up and down and saying thank you God!
I had to make the best of this opportunity and studied harder and did even better at school than before to send a positive message to Outreach so they would accept my two younger sisters in the program when they applied.
I graduated from high school, passed the State Exam in 2011 and realized my biggest dream, to study medicine, when I was admitted to one of the top three medical schools in Haiti. As a young female medical student, I sent a great positive message to the young people of my neighborhood: if I could go to college they could too. I also joined Outreach’s Alumni Association. This was important as it allowed all current and past Outreach beneficiaries to stay connected, share opportunities and find mutual support for projects. I would even reach out them when I had important projects to submit at school.
During my time as a medical student, I had the opportunity to do a number of internships. Two of the most important ones were the clinical internship at Hôpital Sacre Coeur de Milot in Cap Haitien in 2016 and the second most relevant was at Hôpital La Providence des Gonaives. These internships provided me with a good foundation and helped me gain firsthand case experience as a general practitioner.
Just as with any medical student in Haiti, I concluded my medical studies with my residence at the Meyer Health Center for one year. After graduation, I felt more empowered than a normal medical student in Haiti because I have the Outreach Alumni network and benefitted from many internships that made me very competitive. I keep building my English skills and preparing for a specialization in Cardiology.
I will be forever grateful to Outreach to Haiti for helping me realize one of my biggest dreams which is to be a doctor and serve the poorest communities of my country. I know I would not be able to achieve this goal without Outreach’s support. Outreach’s generosity inspires me to continue to help other young people. Thank you for investing in my future.
Today, Dr. Sainterve is working at the Hôpital Le Cayes. If you have ever wondered if the gifts you give and the opportunities you provide to others make a difference, I hope Sherley Sainterve’s story inspires you to know that yes, you make a difference.
We believe education provides a strong foundation for all young people’s lives and allows them to develop their God-given gifts and become who God intends them to become in this life. Please keep our Haitian young people in your prayers and consider becoming the person who forever positively changes the life of a child. We invite you to visit our website and learn how to become an Education Sponsor by visiting https://outreachtohaiti.org/programs/education.
God bless you!
By Susan Wallace, Executive Director
& Jimmy Kervens Jean-Felix, former Outreach Education Team Member
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Roman Catholic Diocese of Norwich
Norwich, CT 06360-4328