Art Auction Benefit to H.E.L.P. University Students in Haiti
NEW YORK – Haiti is a country with such endemic and intractable troubles that it’s sometimes difficult to know where and how to lend a hand. But on Friday, November 9, art lovers and humanitarians alike will have an exceptional opportunity to help the country through an organization called H.E.L.P.
At 7 that evening, the Haitian Education and Leadership Program (H.E.L.P.) will host its second annual benefit auction of Haitian contemporary and naïf art, featuring works by some of Haiti’s most renowned artists, including Mario Benjamin, Préfète Duffaut, Gérard Fortuné, and Lionel St. Eloi. All proceeds will go toward scholarship support for Haitian students pursuing higher education in Haiti.
H.E.L.P. was started in 1996 by Conor Bohan, a Brown graduate living and teaching in Haiti, when he decided to sponsor a promising student that he had taught in secondary school to study medicine at the university level.
H.E.L.P. has since grown into Haiti’s largest university scholarship program and, for the academic year 2007/2008, will sponsor 78 students to study education, medicine, law, engineering, accounting, agronomy, chemistry, computer science and communications in various universities throughout Haiti.
To date, H.E.L.P. graduates have a 100 percent employment rate at an average starting salary of $6,000 per year, approximately 15 times greater than the average annual salary in Haiti.
Plagued by widespread poverty, destabilization, and a lack of governmental infrastructure, Haiti grapples with a nearly 70 percent unemployment rate. Though the average annual cost of university in Haiti, including textbooks, is just over $1,000, nearly 50 percent of children in Haiti have no access to education at all, and few can afford to continue their studies past middle or high school.
The event will take place at the Prince George Ballroom, 15 East 27th Street (between Fifth and Madison Avenues) in New York.