Catching up with Clersaint, JiHM scholar

Rampant insecurity continues to trample on the ambitions of every young person in Haiti, no matter how hard they work. Clersaint, 24, has felt this acutely.

The president of Grace Emmanuel School’s Class of 2020, Clersaint was awarded a JiHM scholarship in the summer of 2021. He began a 2-year accounting program that fall.

Despite every obstacle, Clersaint graduated this past August with his associate degree in accounting. Opportunities in his field have since remained elusive.

We were finally able to catch up with him in December, ask some questions about his professional school experience, and learn what has transpired in his life since graduation.

1. Why did you choose this area of study?

I chose accounting because I like to manage and lead and I believe I can easily work in this profession.

2. What was the most difficult part of school? What was the best part?

When I had to leave Lafito [a port village that was attacked in October 2022] and move to Cabaret it got very difficult to continue to attend school in Tabarre.

The best part was graduating. Despite every difficulty I had encountered, I still managed to finish school.

Clersaint at his graduation in August 2023

3. How have you used the knowledge you have gained?

Sadly, I have not had a chance yet. I was supposed to have an internship but that hasn’t been possible because I’m always forced to move from one place to the next because of the gangs. I first moved from Lafito to Cabaret, then Cabaret to La Gonave, La Gonave back to Cabaret, then to Bon Repos, Sarthe, and now Delmas 95. It’s been really sad. Despite searching for opportunities in my profession, I haven’t yet found any. I am obligated to sell papaya and soap at the market in Petionville because right now I just need to make ends meet since I am on my own.

4. Where do you hope to see yourself in 5 years?

I would like for my competence to grow, to continue to work in many enterprises, and become a great accountant.

5. Is there an achievement you are most proud of in your life? Why?

Finishing high school and earning the chance at Grace Emmanuel School to receive a scholarship for my professional studies. I always worked hard to succeed and thanks to all of my efforts, I received this opportunity.

Clersaint graduated from Grace Emmanuel School in October 2020, after delays from the COVID-19 pandemic.

6. Who in your life is most proud of you and why?

My mom, because she has always cared well for me. She knows that I have positive ambitions and she always appreciates every effort I make.

7. How does your faith in Christ impact your life?

I am a believer, though I am not yet baptized. I know that Christ has a great impact because He has seen me through many difficult times. I haven’t made bad choices, and I think that is the grace of God.

8. How do you hope to use your training to impact your community?

The impact I would like to have on the community is to help the weakest because I know what it means to be in need. Through the training that I have, I am ready to help everyone who needs my support.

9. How can we be praying for you?

Ask God to give me more strength every day because I’ve been separated from my family since February 2023. Before that, I was never far from them. Sometimes I really miss my mom and that really stresses me out. I ask you for prayer.

10. Is there anything you would like to say to the people who have supported you?

I’ve felt like I haven’t had a chance to thank everyone for everything that has been done for me because of the difficulties communicating with everyone. I’m always moving from area to area because of the gang violence. I want to tell them that what they have done for me is not in vain, especially now that many young people in Haiti do not have any support. May God always cover them under His blessing. Thank you very much! Your reward is in the hands of God.

Congratulations, Clersaint! We are so proud of your perseverance and effort and pray for opportunities for you to flourish.

Maudeline Saint Fleur is the secretary for Grace Emmanuel School. Maudeline began at GES as a kindergarten teacher in 2008, transitioning to secretary in 2014. She is an invaluable member of the GES team, called by God to serve Him in this place. Maudeline lives with her husband and three daughters.

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.