In schools across the country of Haiti, biblical material is now helping children to acquire the spiritual foundations and the literacy skills they need, according to a world fellowship of national Bible societies.
For the last five years, the Haitian Bible Society and its partners have been working to support the islands children as they cope daily with poverty and conflict. The United Bible Societies reported last month that despite having gained their freedom from France 200 years ago, the people of Haiti have still not escaped the slavery of poverty, illiteracy and political turmoil.
For the ordinary people of this beautiful country, everyday life brings many challenges and anxieties, UBS reported. With its crumbling infrastructure and weak economy, Haiti offers few opportunities for young people, especially those whose parents have been unable to afford even a basic education for them. Many of those who do attend school later leave the island to seek a better life elsewhere.
However, now in schools across the country, whether private or public, rich or poor, Roman Catholic or Protestant, biblical material such as the Book of Hope is helping children to acquire the spiritual foundations and the literacy skills they desperately need.
The "Book of Hope," distributed by an Assemblies of God ministry based in Florida, is a Scripture book that combines the four gospels in the Bible and puts them in chronological order, making it easy for kids to read.
Since 1987, the "Book of Hope" has been distributed worldwide in more than 65 languages and dialects. It also comes in a variety of age-appropriate formats, which are culturally and emotionally relevant.
This book shows you how to live with God in your life and what respect you should have for others, said Sophia Jeune, a student at a public school in Petonville. If young people read this book they can change their lives.
The Bible Society has also set aside part of its limited resources over recent years to help the victims of the natural disasters that seem to hit the country with relentless regularity.
Pastor Sylvio Joseph, whose church was among those that received Bibles following floods in June 2004, said he was grateful but that there was still great demand for Bibles.
We need more Bibles, he told UBS. Our people still have to share. Our resources are limited, so its vital that we have assistance.
In 2004, the Haitian Bible Society reportedly distributed 79,203 Bibles, 20,564 New Testaments, 66,431 Bible portions, and 1,864,200 Bible selections.
Worldwide, member Bible Societies of the UBS distributed more than 390 million Scripture materials in 2004, including: 24.9 million Bibles, 12.6 million New Testaments, 17.5 million Bible portions, 12.5 million New Reader Portions, 299.5 million Bible selections, and 23.6 million New Reader Selections.