The Future of Student Sponsorship: Spring 2023 Update

Heartline’s student sponsorship program began in 2010 with a few students from Cité Soleil. Today we have 76 students enrolled in the program and manage partnerships with multiple schools throughout greater Port-au-Prince. Heartline donors sponsor students through a 1:1 sponsorship model (one sponsor matched with one student). We started with two partner schools in Cité Soleil and Corail communities.


While we still reference those general areas, our partner schools have now expanded to 10. In 2016, we decided to stop adding students to the program and commit 100% to the students already enrolled. These students and their families will continue to have their tuition paid through graduation and, if qualified, the completion of university or trade school.


We are invested in these students for the long haul and firmly believe that they will be change agents for the future of Haiti.


What is happening?
At the beginning of 2023, students in Cité Soleil and Corail returned to school after violence and insecurity had disrupted classes throughout 2022. Unfortunately for the students in our Corail program, it was short-lived. Gangs quickly overtook their community, and again, many of those who had sought peace and safety in Corail were forced to flee the area – once again, refugees in their own country.


What are we doing about it?
In February, we took immediate steps to ensure Corail students had an opportunity to return to class, regardless of where they ended up calling home. With a few minimum requirements, we are entrusting parents with the decision of where their children attend school. They are best equipped to make that decision. You can read the full message from February here.


Does this apply to students in the Cité Soleil program?
Yes. If a parent of a student in the Cité Soleil program requests their student attend a different school and that school meets our minimum requirements, we will continue supporting the student’s education at their new school. It’s important to note that students in Cité Soleil have been able to stay in school uninterrupted in 2023. There are a variety of reasons for this, the main cause being that gang violence and its impact on the community is not new to them, and therefore navigating this reality while attending school is a familiar challenge. These kids and their families (and the community-at-large) have been dealing with gang violence in the midst of daily life for far longer than most other Haitians.


What about my student? What changes for me, for them? What stays the same?
There are no changes for current student sponsors. You are partnered with the student you sponsor and their family to ensure they receive the best possible chance to pursue their education. You will continue to receive updates twice yearly and communications from the students.


On the students’ end, there is a positive change in that fleeing their community for safety does not mean an end to their education or your investment in them. It means the relationship continues. Moise Medor and Josue Ruben, our Student Sponsorship Team, will continue to check in on your student, their family, and the school they attend to ensure standards are met and the student is progressing well.


What are your long-term plans?
Long term, we are committed to seeing each of these students complete school and for those that are willing and able to proceed to university or trade school. We’ve been invested in these specific students for over a decade and will continue to do so.


What happens when a student and their families flee a community?
When gangs overtake a neighborhood, it’s often part of ongoing combat with another gang. The conditions are war-like, that means communication is disrupted, and immediate safety is the highest priority. In many cases, the situation is temporal, and families are able to return to their homes. Other times, a family relocates quickly, and we cannot find them. In those cases, we will continue to seek them out using all means available for a period of 60 days. If, after 60 days, we haven’t been able to establish contact, we will consider them to have left the program and notify their sponsor. Should they return, we will (of course) always accept them back.


What happens to my monthly giving when my student is not in school with the program?
Student sponsorship funding and the model it is built on have never financially been a 1:1 model. The overall cost of the benefits that sponsored students receive is more than what each sponsor pays. As a reminder, sponsorship provides tuition and fees for school, a meal each day at school, school uniforms, school supplies, a backpack each school year and other benefits as needed. (This is also why we collect sponsorship dollars over the summer months when school is out of session.) Additionally, we use sponsorship funds for school programs, special events, and unexpected costs related to the student’s education that may arise. Because we have a holistic approach to education, we frequently assist students’ families with housing, food, and unexpected medical expenses throughout the year.


If your specific student is no longer part of the program, your donations can go into the Children’s Education Fund. This will support the program and needs of all sponsored students.


So, what are the changes?
In short, the changes to the program are as follows.

  • Flexible school selection. Some zones/neighborhoods are very violent right now, while others are relatively safe. Families need to be free to choose where they live and send their kids to school. Parents and their children will decide on a school that makes sense for them and then provide Heartline with the school’s information. Our staff will contact and research the school to determine if it’s a good fit.
  • Student accountability. We will require that parents and students provide proof each semester of their attendance and grades. We will not make additional payments to the school until this documentation is received.
  • When a sponsor discontinues their support, we will not add a new sponsor for that individual student. Instead, we will move to a general sponsorship model where students in the Heartline program will be funded by those who support the Children’s Education fund. Those who support this effort will receive updates about all the students in the Heartline program – as they are invested in the entire program.


How long will this change stay in place?
This is a permanent program change, and we will continue this model until all students have completed their schooling.


How can I help?
If you are a current 1:1 sponsor, please stick with the student you sponsor and with us. If your student leaves the program, you can still support children’s education in Haiti. Join us as we partner with loving parents who are fighting for their kids’ education, even against the storm of civil war in their country. While new sponsors or sponsors who adjust their gift to contribute to the Children’s Education Fund will not be entering a 1:1 relationship with a student, they will experience the joy of hearing about the accomplishments and milestones of 76 children as they pursue education in Haiti.


Can I stop my sponsorship? What happens if I do?
You are welcome to stop your sponsorship at any time, but we certainly hope you won’t. If you currently have a 1:1 sponsorship with a student, nothing will change for you, even if the student changes schools. If you stop sponsoring that child, Heartline will continue to invest in him/her and use general giving to fund their schooling.


Questions about your student or the program overall? You can contact Dave Kless, Director of US Operations at

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