Via Alisa Carroll of Carroll Public Relations comes word of the First Annual San Francisco Benefit for the Haitian Education and Leadership Program (HELP)tomorrow night at the Museum of the African Diaspora(MoAD)
Read all about it, below.
See you there!
H.E.L.P. Benefit at MoAD
Haiti is a country with such endemic and intractable troubles that it’s sometimes difficult to know how to lend a hand. But on Thursday, September 24, bay area art lovers and humanitarians alike will have an exceptional opportunity to help the country through an organization called The Haitian Education and Leadership Program (H.E.L.P.). At 7:00pm that evening, H.E.L.P. will host its first annual San Francisco fundraiser at the Museum of African Diaspora (MoAD) at 685 Mission Street. Guests will enjoy an evening of live Haitian music, authentic Haitian cuisine, cocktails, a silent auction, a raffle of local prizes, and a presentation introducing H.E.L.P. to the San Francisco community. Participants will also be granted after-hours admittance to MoAD’s exhibitions and galleries. Tickets for event are $50 in advance and $65 at the door.
H.E.L.P. provides merit-based university scholarships in Haiti for top high school graduates from severely disadvantaged backgrounds. Beginning with just one student in 1996, H.E.L.P. has since grown into Haiti’s largest university scholarship program. For the academic year 2009/2010, H.E.L.P. will sponsor 110 students studying education, medicine, law, engineering, accounting, agronomy, chemistry, computer science and communications in various universities throughout Haiti.
H.E.L.P. has a yearly retention rate of over 90%, and its graduates have a 100% employment rate in Haiti at an average starting salary of over $8,000. (Haiti’s employment rate is estimated at 60% and GDP per capita is $480.) During a recent visit to H.E.L.P. accompanied by President Bill Clinton, Secretary General of UN Ban Ki-moon described H.E.L.P. students as the “hope of this country.”
Eighty percent of Haiti’s population lives in extreme poverty. The World Bank ranks Haiti as the fourteenth poorest country in the world and the poorest in the Western Hemisphere. Decades of political repression and instability have forced Haiti’s educated class to emigrate. Today, 84% of Haitians with a university degree live abroad and the university enrollment rate in Haiti is only 1%. H.E.L.P. scholarships contribute significantly to the growth of Haiti’s professional class and change Haiti’s long-standing inequities and rigid class structure.