Panelists discuss hopes for Haiti’s development

The Dartmouth

February 22, 2013

By Charlie Rafkin

A Haitian proverb says that the goat’s business is not the sheep’s business. Put simply, one should mind one’s own business. But in light of continued poverty and political strife in Haiti, University of Texas Health Science Center professor Ruth Berggren said that it may be time to “turn that proverb upside down” in favor of Haitian unity.

Berggren moderated Thursday’s panel discussion “The Imprint of Haiti on One’s Life,” which featured Haitian students and health leaders. The seven panelists had a wide range of cultural and familial backgrounds, hailing from both small Haitian villages and the nation’s capital.

When describing their childhood experiences and hopes for the future, the panelists emphasized Haiti’s natural beauty, sense of community and untapped potential, in addition to its poverty and violence...

Yves-Marie Duperval '14
Yves-Marie Duperval '14

...Yves-Marie Duperval ’14, who attended three months of classes at an engineering school in Haiti, said he felt lucky to receive an education because many Haitian children do not have the same opportunity. He stressed the poor quality of the Haitian education system.

“Some people who are studying electronics have never seen a transistor,” Duperval said.

The issues Haiti must address cannot be solved through financial donations alone, and the country must develop a stronger educational system, Duperval said.

“Free stuff is just going to last for a month,” he said. “Education is lasting for a lifetime.”

Duperval hopes to see a change in Haiti’s international image. Online photos reflect the nation’s poverty, as foreigners who have Internet access post photos “trying to prove a point” to raise money for their organizations, he said.

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