Remarks by the Chargé
Esteemed National Coordinator of SHAA, dear Commander of the Security Cooperation Office, dear USAID Education Team, and dear distinguished guests; good morning to all of you. I want to welcome you all once again to this exciting event. I am honored to be here today.
Equity is both a moral and economic imperative. In order to achieve shared prosperity and stability, we must empower all members of society to fully participate in political and economic life. We must ensure there are ample opportunities to do so, and that’s why inclusive education is so important.
The opportunity for children to participate in inclusive education helps them be more fully involved and integrated into their community, preventing social isolation and promoting a fulfilling life. Further, equitable access to quality education is vital to obtaining gainful employment later in life.
We are proud that through partnerships and grants for programs like RAPID, the US government, through USAID, is able to support local institutions like SHAA to provide inclusive education and access to educational opportunities for persons with disabilities.
I am so moved by the words of our youth participant today. Indeed these youth remind us of Margaret Meade’s famous words, “never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed it’s the only thing that ever has.” The United States is proud to offer this equipment to empower more citizens in Haiti to engage in all aspects of life and to live up to his and her potential.
We know the challenges visually impaired and blind children in Haiti face. We realize only about 6 percent of the estimated 20,000 school age children with visual impairments actually attend school and that no one can rest until this statistic moves in a positive trajectory.
I am glad to be here today to highlight the efforts of the Security Cooperation Office to utilize their Humanitarian Assistance Program to support a longstanding partner of USAID. This is an excellent example of the USG working together to maximize our impact. Your collective efforts have resulted in today’s successful donation to SHAA of a braille and other equipment to support Haiti’s Blind and visually impaired population. Thank you, Dr. Péan, for your continued work to support the Blind and visually impaired community in Haiti.
I thank you all for your participation at today’s event, and at this point, I officially hand over these materials to SHAA, where I know they will put this equipment to good use in your specialized library and center. Thank you.