In Haiti, there is a proverb: Sak vid pa kanpé.
The empty sack can't stand up.

Without a sense of our own value, we cannot develop. Learning to read and write is so common in North America we often take it for granted. Haitian's don't. Fewer than one in four Haitians can read and only 1% graduate from high school.

The lack of educational opportunities has contributed to Haiti's many social problems. Haitians want a better life and know that learning to read is absolutely crucial. With literacy farmers can access information on better farming techniques, parents can read and understand prescriptions, vaccination information and legal documents. They can record business transactions, write letters, read contracts and forms. Literacy protects Haitians from exploitation.

  Illiteracy is often not just about reading and writing, but also about a person's sense of self-worth in society. Illiterate Haitians often doubt their own knowledge and capacity, believing the cruel stereotypes of the “ignorant peasant”.

In 1999 pcH launched an “innovative yet risky” adult literacy programme that aimed at the principle hindrances to successful co-operation in Haiti: fear and mistrust. Now in its third year, this literacy programme is enabling cooperative members to gain the knowledge, confidence and sense of self-worth through which they take control of their own destinies, and learn to cooperate and trust. As cooperative membership increases, members are transformed through literacy, this education and knowledge is fundamental to increase productivity and income.