Students assist Haitian school

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The Caribbean island of Haiti is one of the poorest nations in the Western Hemisphere. It suffers from political unrest and social upheaval, and an average Haitian man only earns about the cost of a bottle of water per day. A student at Saint Louis University is working to change this.

Rebecca Gorley, a freshman in the School of Social Work, is hoping to make a difference in the world for those in Haiti. She is selling hand-painted canvas bags for $20 each, which goes directly to a school in Haiti called Faith Academy.

Gorley attended a Christian private school in her hometown of Cincinnati.

“At my high school,” Gorley said, “I learned the importance of service learning. I also learned about learning from experiences. I had a great mentor-Karen Hordinski, the outreach coordinator. She taught me to develop skills to seek justice.”

Gorley’s travels in Haiti opened her eyes to the injustices that the Haitian people endure due to a lack of education.

“I first traveled to Haiti my sophomore year of high school,” Gorley said. “I traveled back there twice since then. Through this life experience, I became convinced how important education is.”

A memorable moment for Gorley was when she lived with her host family. They were traveling in packed two-seater car on a busy street, crowded with cars and vendors.

“All of a sudden, the car gave out,” Gorley said. “People started to come over to us, and they helped us move the car over to the side . There’s a saying there: ‘Make do.’ I really believe that now.”

When she came back to the States, Gorley struggled to adjust to life back at home and to find a way to help those in Haiti. Then, while on the job, she had an epiphany.

“I was at work, and then it came to me,” she said. “I would always go to the local craft store to make gifts for friends for their birthdays. So, I decided that I wanted to make these bags for the school in Haiti.”

Since she began selling the bags, she has raised $2,000, all of which has gone to the school in Haiti. Gorley hopes to travel back to Haiti soon. She says that she is following the Haitian saying “make do,” in order to make the world a better place.