Amos Joseph knows firsthand the power of education, having seen it transform his hometown of Port-Au-Prince, Haiti.
“In the past, education was reserved for a specific category of privileged people,” Joseph said. “The power was governed by the bourgeois, but now through education, anybody from any level can be the president or anything.”
Joseph works for BuildON, an international nonprofit that runs afterschool service programs in the United States and builds schools in developing countries. He has been with the organization for four years, and has worked closely with Dallas International School in the past through joint efforts with BuildON.
“The DIS chapter of BuildON came to Haiti five years ago to help build a school,” Joseph said. “I wasn’t a permanent staff member then, but I spent time in the local community with DIS to help build the school. Since then, we stayed connected.”
Joseph credits his experience with the DIS chapter as motivation to eventually join BuildON full-time.
“Especially in the community where I first met with DIS, we saw how difficult it was for a kid to work at travelling to school and work a job,” Joseph said. “We saw just how great it was to bring a school into the community. It helped them. They have electricity now, they have a well, they’re trying to get a health clinic and other things to try and help the community.”
Joseph’s responsibility with the organization lies in the logistical planning of the schools. Since BuildON focuses on constructing schools in rural areas that haven’t had them before, the change can be jarring to a community.
“I meet with the villagers first to help prepare them mentally and psychologically,” Joseph said. “I explain to them our methodology. After, I help purchase the materials for construction. We help the community get involved in the project too. We help provide laborers to help work on the construction. Every day we have a minimum of 20 people working on the school.”
While vacationing in Orlando, Joseph was invited to come to Dallas to tour the DIS campus and address the students. His message to them was simple.
“I want to tell them how education is better for development,” Joseph said. “I’m the youngest from a family of nine, and I’m the only one who finished school. What I have accomplished is only because I have been educated. Education is the key that can open every door.”