A Shining Light in the Face of Adversity – How One Young Woman is Overcoming Struggles to Make Her World a Better Place

Sponsored by Laura Peters

Name: Sheїla G.
Big Goal: Graduate from a management program and ultimately work to help the community, particularly the children, as they are our future
Big Obstacle: Tuition fees
What Sheїla Needs: Tuition support to complete her studies; greater access to technology

At the tender age of 19, Sheїla knows more about life than many North Americans will experience in their lifetime.

Sheїla and her brother learned a lot about life’s adversities that day and in the years to follow. Sadly, her family fell into two of the above statistics when the family lost its father, their primary breadwinner, and her mother lost a leg, severely impeding her ability to care for her young family alone.On January 12, 2010, a colossal, magnitude 7.0 earthquake ravaged the country of Haiti, claiming up to 316,000 lives and displacing more than 1.5 million people.[i] It also left over 300,000 people with injuries, many life-changing. This story is about a young woman who doesn’t want to be simply a statistic of a tragic event.

In the aftermath of the earthquake, this family has also become blended, bringing two cousins into its fold. Sounds like something any family would do, right? But with Haiti’s legal minimum wage coming in at $4.00/day, and many people making much less than that, feeding, clothing and sheltering a family of five is no mean feat. Plus, with university fees in the country running between $2,000 – $3,000 per annum, the math for a roadmap out of poverty just doesn’t work.

Meet Sheїla – and her vision for the future

Self-described as disciplined, punctual and honest, Sheїla is one who loves to inform and be informed, with a particular passion for helping others. She ardently devours articles on world issues, an interest for which computer access is essential.

For me, success is not just about money. Success is the accomplishment of goals, and being successful is being satisfied with what you have built, despite the confrontations that you have faced.  — Sheïla G.

Sheїla quickly recognized that a good education was the key to a better life for herself, her family… and her community. Despite dealing with enormous grief and drastic life changes in the months following the earthquake, Sheїla applied herself to her studies with a view to the successful completion of a government-sanctioned exam, required to advance to a higher level of education. Happily, she passed.

Currently enrolled in a Management Program with a focus on technology, Sheїla expects to graduate in three years, after which she plans on achieving a Master’s level education that will enable her to help others. However, funding her education is an ongoing struggle for Sheїla and her family – and the only barrier between her and a brighter future for herself and for the many people whose lives she will touch.

Sheїla has recognized the importance of technology in her own educational journey – in fact, she couldn’t study or do homework without it. Her ultimate goal is to give back to her community by helping its children, many of whom were orphaned in the earthquake, because, she says, “the children are the future of our country”. By introducing Haitian children to technology, she can help light their way out of poverty as they face the future in a modern world.

[i] https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/haiti-earthquake-anniversary_us_5875108de4b02b5f858b3f9c

By Aileen Provan