Name: Wandalesky B.
Big Goal: To earn a university degree in marketing, and to encourage Haiti’s youth to strive for successful careers
Big Obstacle: With her father deceased and a single mother working part-time, Wandalesky is lacking financial support
What Wandalesky Needs: Tuition support, mentorship and access to reliable Internet

Meet Wandalesky, a 19-year-old living in hurricane-ravaged Haiti with her mother and sister. Life changed for the family after her father died, leaving her mother as the sole income earner for the family. Unemployment rates are at record highs in Haiti and the average wage for those fortunate enough to have a job at is less than $4/day, so Wandalesky’s mother makes her meagre living by selling cosmetic products and wigs on the street. It is often a struggle to put food on the table, never mind pay for a post-secondary education for her daughters.

Wandalesky is a gifted student, and was thrilled to be awarded a scholarship by the embassy to learn English. The ability to speak the universal language will help pave the way to getting the career she seeks. She is passionate about learning, and realizes that technology is an integral part of her success.

What is success? For Wandalesky, it is defined as “moving forward after working hard to achieve my goals” – and that’s what she wishes for the people of Haiti. She wants to leverage her success to become an advocate for the people of her country, to offer advice and counselling, and to encourage them to get an education so they can improve their economic status. She knows it’s an uphill battle, but she is determined to spread the word through television, radio and online messaging.

First, though, she needs that university degree, and she needs help. There simply isn’t the money available to pay for tuition, and without technology and a reliable Internet, her options are even more limited. She is hungry for funding and for a mentor who can offer the kind of support that money can’t buy.

And, in a perfect world, Wandalesky would like to achieve a level of success that would allow her to send her mother to school so she, too, can reach for the stars.

by Lois Gordon