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Life in a cracked house in Haiti

By Julie Hays, CNN
updated 9:50 AM EDT, Mon June 17, 2013
  • Rose Matrie is a bright student attending secondary school in Haiti
  • Her parents are struggling to pay the fees to keep her and her five siblings enrolled
  • Public schools in Haiti only meet about 20 percent of the demand for basic education
  • Organizations like Plan are working to provide more access to quality education

CNN Films' "Girl Rising" documents extraordinary girls and the power of education to change the world.

(CNN) -- Thirteen-year-old Rose Matrie lives in a cracked house.

The light that streams through the narrow slit in the concrete wall is an ever-present reminder of the earthquake that struck her home in Haiti in 2010 and devastated the already impoverished country. Still, Rose Matrie has big dreams for her future.

"I want to go to a big school in order to develop my talents," she says.

Her mother fastened a large chalkboard on the outside of their home to cover up the crack, and every day Rose Matrie does her homework there. Her teacher says she is very bright and excels in literature.

"When I let my imagination go, I think of extraordinary things," Rose Matrie says.

Her father lost his job after the earthquake, and though her mother works as a seamstress, there is little demand for her skills. Like many families in Haiti, her parents are struggling to pay the school fees to keep her and her five siblings enrolled.

In Haiti, public schools only meet about 20% of the demand for basic education in rural areas, and education costs, particularly for private schools, remain very high in relation to family income, according to the nonprofit Plan International USA.

Plan is working with local governments and schools to provide more children in Haiti with access to a quality education. The organization is building classrooms and school facilities, training educators and providing school supplies, textbooks and uniforms for children in need.

"[This is] so those costs aren't passed on to families as a barrier to attendance," explains Ann Wang, a plan communications specialist.

When the relatively high cost of school is decreased or eliminated, more children like Rose Matrie can get an education and develop their talents.

Watch the video for a glimpse into Rose Matrie's world. You can help her and other girls growing up in Haiti.


Support the campaign behind the film "Girl Rising" and give to the 10x10 Fund for Girls' Education. Donations will be distributed evenly among the 10x10 nonprofit partners and help fund girls' education projects around the world.

You can also help advance Plan's work by donating to its "Because I am a Girl" campaign, which supports projects that help girls and women in the developing world. Through the "Gifts of Hope" program, you can symbolically donate things like school uniforms, vaccinations, school supplies or even girl-friendly latrines.


Plan international USA created resources for students and teachers. These online booklets are designed to help people of all ages understand the challenges that many girls and women face around the world.


For even more ways to make an impact for girls education around the world, check out CNN's Impact Your World resources or take action with 10x10.

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