Posted by John May on Aug 10, 2018
Rotarians around the world are creating educational opportunities for our youth.  Many of the Rotary Clubs in District 7390 are involved in their local school districts. They support educational programs and provide scholarships for post-secondary education. Some even provide student loans to assist with college education.
 
We are fortunate in the United States that public education is available to all children.
 
I would like to share with you what one Rotarian in our District has done to provide an education and a future for children in his native country.  Dr. Rodrique Mortel is a member of the Rotary Club of Hershey.  I met Dr. Mortel when I worked at the Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. Dr. Motel was a professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. He served as Chairman of the Department for 13 years before becoming Associate Dean and the first director of the Penn State Cancer Center.  Dr. Motel had a very distinguished career but never forgot where he came from.
 
Dr. Mortel grew up in extreme poverty in Haiti.  His family was evicted from their house because they could not pay $4 a month in rent.  His mother said this would not have happened if she had been educated.  The words she spoke were etched in his heart and he was determined to get an education and someday build a house for her.  
 
In 1997, Dr. Mortel established the Mortel Family Charitable Foundation to educate economically, socially and intellectually deprived children in Haiti.  They select the poorest of the poor to participate in an educational system that now ranges from pre-school to adult literacy.  The pre-school opened in 2001 in Saint Marc, Haiti and had 508 students enrolled in 2017-18.  The secondary school opened in 2011 and had an enrollment of 585 students in 2017-18.  A pre-school was opened in 2015 for 3 and 4 year olds and had an enrollment of 191 students last year.
 
In 2016, The Mortel High Hopes for Haiti Foundation was established and the operation of the schools was transferred to this foundation.  For more information about the school, visit the website at https://www.highhopesforhaiti.org
 
The Mortel Family Charitable Foundation continues to thrive. You can read about its current and future programs at http://mortelfoundation.org
 
Both foundations continue to work towards the same goal of empowering Haitians through education and  forming competent and compassionate future leaders of the country. 
 
Rotary’s theme this year, BE THE INSPIRATION definitely describes Dr. Mortel and the work that he has done and is doing in Haiti.