UT graduate student leads team in Haiti

October 13, 2010 | Features, UToday
By Sarah Ritenour

A majority of Haiti’s population is unemployed, making earning a living difficult and earning an education nearly impossible.

UT graduate student Rachel Powell posed for a photo during a recent mission trip to Haiti.

UT graduate student Rachel Powell posed for a photo during a recent mission trip to Haiti.

The nonprofit organization Mission Possible is working toward helping Haitians become educated and self-sustaining by following its mission of “equipping the next generation of Christ-centered leaders.”

“We currently have seven schools in Haiti, and one way we ensure that we are accomplishing these goals of self-sustainment is by requiring graduates of our scholarship program to return to their community,” said Rachel Powell, a UT graduate student in the Master of Public Administration program, an intern with Mission Possible.

“An example being, one lady who received her nursing degree was asked to return to her village to set up a medical clinic for at least one year,” she said.

Powell has been interning with Mission Possible for a few months and is co-leading a team of 16 people to Haiti on a community development mission through Wednesday, Oct. 13.

“I will be working with the schools directly to ensure that the 3,000 students that we serve are receiving adequate education.”

The team will make additions and repairs to the seven schools that they have built.

Due to the earthquake, one school was destroyed while the others are just about to begin their year; the registration may be down this year, but Powell said they are still hopeful.

“We encourage our students to be involved in the community, which we believe includes not only our neighbors in Lucas County but our neighbors across the world,” said Dr. Mark Denham, associate professor and chair of political science and public administration.

“The Master of Public Administration Program prepares students for careers in public service. It gives them skills related to working not just in local governments and nonprofit organizations in the U.S., but also around the world,” he said. “This kind of experience gives students something a classroom can’t.”

For more information or to become involved with Mission Possible, visit www.ourmissionispossible.org.

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