Due to the unprecedented strengthening of the Haitian gourde and increased costs of operating the Grace Emmanuel School, JiHM will be raising its student sponsorship amount this spring for the first time in over 11 years. Sponsors will be notified by mail and email in the coming weeks. Steve Mooibroek, JiHM’s Board Chair, shares the reason for the increase in his letter to sponsors below.
Your partnership with Grace Emmanuel School provides an incredible place for disadvantaged students to attend school, be nourished, and experience God’s love.
Because of sponsors like you, the little school that JiHM started with 15 kids in 2004 has grown to become one of the premier schools in the area, now providing an education for 375 students each year.
Over the last 16 years, Grace Emmanuel School has persevered through many challenges, including hurricanes and floods, an earthquake, political upheaval, and a pandemic. Its survival and flourishing through each difficulty has repeatedly borne witness to God’s faithfulness to provide—both for His people and through His people.
Today we write to ask you to help Grace Emmanuel School overcome yet another challenge.
As JiHM’s leadership worked to pass a balanced budget for 2021, we faced a huge obstacle that was unforeseen only a few months ago.
On October 6, 2020, the Haitian gourde, which had been losing value steadily for several years, suddenly increased in value by nearly 60%. Because JiHM’s income is all donated in US dollars but our expenses are nearly all in gourdes, everything we fund, from payroll to propane, began costing 60% more overnight.
To illustrate this, on October 1 of last year the exchange rate was near an all time high at 105 gourdes to 1 US dollar. That month JiHM needed $114 to pay a teacher making 12,000 gourdes per month. The following month, we needed $187 to pay that teacher the same wage, with the exchange rate at 64 gourdes to 1 US dollar.
The value of the gourde has declined a little in the past few months, but not nearly enough to reverse the shortfall. Without actually increasing spending, JiHM projects an additional $70,000 will need to be raised to operate GES this year.
To reflect the increase from the gourde and restore our sponsorship program to a level of funding at least half of the school’s operating costs, we will be increasing the monthly amount of sponsorship to $45/student, effective April 1.
The actual cost to educate one student now stands at $88/month. While part of this increase is directly due to the gourde’s value, much of it is also due to positive improvements that have been made over the last decade at Grace Emmanuel School.
When JiHM last increased the cost of sponsorship in the fall of 2009 from $30 to $35 a month, GES had 100 students, only provided education through 6th grade, and met under tents on JiHM’s undeveloped property.
In the past 11+ years, Grace Emmanuel School has expanded through high school, hired specialized teachers and support staff including a nurse, moved into facilities that require daily cleaning and upkeep, and nearly quadrupled its student body.
These changes have garnered respect in the greater community and the school is now a source of pride for our students, their families, and our staff. In the words of one parent, “Grace Emmanuel School is a source of water to quench the thirst of students and parents…GES is a diamond.”
We know you see the value in Grace Emmanuel School as well. We thank you in advance for continuing your sponsorship at $45 each month so Grace Emmanuel School can be a source of hope for students and their families for years to come.
If you have any questions or concerns about the increase, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at 260-302-5446 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
With gratitude in Christ,
Chair, Jesus in Haiti Ministries Board of Directors