An Interview with Benaja Antoine
Benaja, tell us about your childhood.
I am 32 years old. When I was a child I used to swim and fish a lot. Everyday my friends and I would go to the beach, make little canoes. We got in trouble a lot, but it wouldn’t stop us! I loved school and soccer. In junior high, I fell in love with teaching. In high school I started to teach adult literacy in the afternoons. After high school I went to a center where they train teachers. I spent seven years as a teacher at a local school. Then in April 2010, I joined Haiti Partners.
What is your work with Haiti Partners?
Working as a teacher, and now as a trainer of teachers, my goal is to help others to cultivate a new way to teach. I want students in Haiti to have an opportunity for a good education, like anywhere else in the world. Then they can get better work and be leaders in their communities. I want that for all kids in Haiti—a chance to realize their full potential. That’s what we do in Haiti Partners.
Do you have a message for your friends and supporters outside of Haiti?
My message for our friends would be: together we can make these dreams for education true. If we work on behalf of kids in Haiti today, that’s the beginning of change. And we are already seeing lots of change!
Tell us about your children, your inspiration for the future?
I have twin, two-year-old daughters. That’s why I am fighting everyday for my kids—and other children—to have the same opportunity to live in a place where education is valued. My girls inspire me. So do the teachers in our partner schools.
How would you describe yourself?
I’m a simple person. I love people and always want to help others. I am also a learner.
What does Haiti mean to you?
In 2006, I got a scholarship to spend one school year learning near Boston, Massachusetts. Even though it was so much more comfortable, Haiti was still always in my heart. I was eager to come back and serve in my country!
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With Haitians like Benaja giving leadership in Haiti Partners, you can see how your investment in change through education was used wisely during the past year’s programs – and will make a difference in the year ahead.
*Haiti Partners Canada is an initiative of International Teams that works in collaboration with Haiti Partners USA and Les Partenaires d’Haiti. These emails tell stories from the programmatic work of all 3 organizations. Haiti Partners Canada focuses specifically on helping Haitians change Haiti through Christian education. Read more about this work at http://www.haitipartners.ca.