In 1992, Gethro Sanon saw a need. His community in Sarazin Haiti had many children but no school. That just wasn’t good enough for him. And so, the school at Sarazin was born. Almost overnight, there were 1,000 students meeting in palm frond lean-tos. In 1994, Gethro found an NGO that helped them build a few classrooms. In 2003, Gethro started a church in one of the classrooms and became known as “Pastor Gethro.” When the earthquake struck in 2010, the school was instantaneously reduced to rubble. In the aftermath, another NGO helped him construct a higher quality building.
Although the school at Sarazin is a wonderful story of a Haitian community coming together to solve its own problems, the reality was harsh. Pastor Gethro often had difficulty collecting the school fees from the parents. Two or three months might go by with not enough money to pay the teachers.
“Sometimes I would have to hide from the teachers – they would want their pay, but I didn’t have it to give,” he said. Pastor Gethro supports his own family by teaching literature at a public school in another community part time – sometimes he doesn’t get his pay for two or three months either. He says, ”In Haiti, NGOs are happy to help you build something, but they never want to help you run it. It’s always ‘here’s a school building, figure out how to pay the teachers.'”
And so, after 25 years of struggling alone, Pastor Gethro was introduced to Global Vision Citadelle Ministries (GVCM.org). He and the director, my good friend Pastor Yves Prophete, hit it off right away. After a few months, GVCM was able to find the support to start helping Pastor Gethro pay his teachers. For the past three years, Pastor Gethro hasn’t had to hide from teachers anymore. He still collects school fees, but his teachers get paid on time now, every month.
If you ever get to meet Pastor Gethro, you’ll see know that the only way describe him is “beaming with happiness.” He is thrilled to be a pillar of his community and he loves helping manage our churches and schools (which he does as a volunteer). He is a huge blessing to us, and the people of Sarazin.
Thank you for making Pastor Gethro smile! It’s exciting to see new buildings go up, but we also understand that the real work of ministry involves supporting what goes on inside those churches and schools every day.
To donate for the first time or increase your support visit HopeRisingHaiti.org/donate or click below.