A scholarship success story: Reconnecting with Ronaldo, industrial mechanic

Just over four years ago, Ronaldo Leger was given the opportunity to attend Canado Technique, a trade school in Port Au Prince, on a JiHM scholarship.

Ronaldo had finished high school a year earlier while living at the Beacon, JiHM’s former home for young men. (At that time his mom, Odette, was living and working there as the cook.)

Ronaldo graduated in 2018

Ronaldo graduated in July 2018 with a degree in industrial mechanics maintenance.

“Canado Technique prepared me by teaching me both how to work in my field and to have my own business, too,” Ronaldo said. “I can fix pumps, compressors, motors, hydraulic machines, and more.”

After graduating, Ronaldo worked short term jobs for a year until landing an opportunity in his field close to home. Since June 2019, he has been working for a company that makes cement in Port Lafiteau, just down the road from where he grew up. He is one of about 50 employees that work at this state-of-the-art facility, and his job is to help maintain all of the machinery.

Ronaldo works as a mechanic at this cement packaging facility, built in 2017. Photos from gbgroup.com.

“I work every day, either 7am–7pm when I’m on the day shift, or 7pm–7am on the night shift. My favorite part of the job is when I’m working with a team and can give an idea to increase our productivity.”

Ronaldo is grateful to everyone who invested in his education. “I wish I could personally thank all of them,” he said with a smile.

In a country with an estimated 40% unemployment rate (and a much higher rate of underemployment), he is thankful to have a full-time job in his field, attributing his success to hard work and faith in God.

“The advice I’d give a student who is graduating in Haiti and wants to enter the same field as me, is to work hard, work a lot, and believe in your goal,” Ronaldo said. “Always put God in all you are doing, always put Him first. If not, all your plans will fail.”

Funding more futures

Ronaldo’s success story is one we hope to replicate as many times as possible through the GES scholarship fund.

Since 2017, JiHM has been sending 2–3 promising students from each graduating class at Grace Emmanuel School to college in Haiti. With 2 more students soon to be chosen from the Class of 2020, this year JiHM will be funding 9 students to attend local university or trade school.

These 7 graduates are currently attending university or trade school in Haiti on JiHM scholarships. Two more students will be added from the Class of 2020. From left to right: Dunot; Steevenson; Davidson; Chruvenson; Enel; Ferlandy; and Jheff. Read more of their stories.

“What we’re doing for these young adults,” said Roger Carole, JiHM Director of Operations, “is providing a big opportunity to change their lives.”

With a big opportunity also comes a big price tag. JiHM projects this year’s scholarship fund will need $31,000 to fund 9 scholarships—5 to university and 4 to trade school.

This is a significantly higher cost than previous years, due to both the strengthening of the Haitian gourde and adjustments to the program to better equip these young adults for success, like adding a monthly stipend for living assistance while they attend school full-time. (As one scholar said, it’s awfully hard to study when you haven’t eaten anything all day.)

We are praying the investment pays off, and these bright students are able to find good jobs in their communities, support their future families, and serve the Lord with all their heart, soul, and mind.

Ronaldo’s success is one reason we are hopeful that it will.

Will you come alongside these young adults with a gift to the scholarship fund? A gift of $50 funds one week for a trade school student; $85 funds one week for a university student.

Kristi Bucher has served as Communications Manager for Jesus in Haiti Ministries since 2014. She currently lives in Minnesota with her husband, Nathan, and two kids. Kristi and Nathan lived in Haiti from 2012–2014.