Student Stories

FSIL Graduation –  November 2017

MBF believes that nurses are the cornerstone of every health care system. They are critical, not only in the delivery of essential health services, but they are also at the core of strengthening health care systems. The developing world faces numerous challenges in addressing the growing health care needs and concerns of its people. These communities are struggling to manage the evolving disease burdens with limited resources and staff. A key strategy to combat what could play into the poverty spiral is to build a nursing workforce that is highly educated, well trained and empowered to influence change. This is happening in partnership with the indigenous church and nursing schools, and we are encouraged as we hear about the successes.

Faculty of Nursing Science of the Episcopal University of Haiti (FSIL) has the only nursing baccalaureate program in Haiti. This is a critical distinction and major advancement in health education for this small country. The commencement ceremony for FSIL was held on November 4th, where 32 students were honored for their hard work. This was also a celebration for 16 of those 32 women, as they were the school’s very first master level class. We celebrate with FSIL and congratulate one of our own, Haiti Country Coordinator, Paule-Nice Stanfil who graduated with honors.

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Lucy – March 2017

Lucy grew up in the region north of Nairobi, Kenya. From a poor family, she is one of five children and her parents are peasant famers. But despite their struggles, Lucy’s family believed in her education and to support it they sold their only three cows to raise money for her tuition to the Tumutumu Hospital School of Nursing. The sale of those cows represented a significant loss for the family, but even so, it was not enough to cover the cost of tuition.

Without enough money for tuition, Lucy was forced to drop out of school. But she never lost her passion for her studies or her dream of becoming a nurse.

After receiving a scholarship provided by MBF partners, Lucy returned and was able to graduate. She now works at the Tumutumu Hospital, owned by the Presbyterian Church of East Africa. The impact of her education reaches far beyond just Lucy, it helps her family have a better future and it helps the many patients who come to the hospital for life-saving treatment.

As Lucy tells us, “I am working at the hospital and dedicating myself everyday as though I have no tomorrow when I remember where I have come from…Today, I can support my parents in educating my siblings, and so the whole family has benefited.”

Lucy is just one example of how our partnerships with MBF create successful, sustainable, medical ministries. Together we are creating a network of nursing schools in developing countries providing scholarships, helping with the construction of classroom facilities and supporting the development of new programs. Each new nursing student has the potential to care for more than 50,000 patients in their career.

Unfortunately, most of the students at MBF partner nursing schools are like Lucy and can only attend if they receive a scholarship. In Kenya, the average annual income is just $1,700, making nursing school well out of reach for most prospective students. While the average tuition cost is only $4,000/year—a bargain when compared to U.S. college tuition—it is still an impossible hurdle for many students and their families.

Each partner nursing schools is connected to the local church and run on Christian principles. Attention is given to the spiritual development of students along with the elements of excellence in nursing. It’s a winning combination that God will use to transform thousands of lives and hearts through the ministry of healing.

Osianne – January 2017

Osianne is from northern Haiti. Her parents are deceased and she has three older sisters and one younger brother. Growing up, her dreams always included becoming a nurse.She heard about Faculty of Nursing Science of the Episcopal University of Haiti (FSIL) from one of her high school teachers and was encouraged to take the entrance exam, passing it with a perfect score! Her dream of becoming a nurse had the potential to be realized, but unfortunately Osianne raised only part of her tuition for her first semester.

She thought she would have to drop out because of a lack of funding, and she would have were it not for a scholarship from MBF partners that allowed her the ability to continue to pursue her dreams.

Osianne’s story is one of many. It starts out with a dream and hard work, but then sadly is more likely to end in disappointment. It is hard for education to be a priority in developing countries when survival takes so much time and effort. Poverty strips away the hope of bettering ones circumstances and because of that, the dream dies unless someone else steps in to help.

In response to the health crisis in developing countries, global support organizations will mobilize to increase access to essential medicines. And while that response meets a very real need, it does not tackle the most important aspect of the health care systems—the people that make them work. In most low-income countries, a trained and competent workforce for health care does not exist in sufficient numbers to bring about the critically needed change.

MBF believes that to build sustainable health care ministries we must develop and support indigenous health care workers. This means making sure that potential nursing students are given the chance to attend school and are prepared with the supplies they need to be successful. Making an investment like this ministers to not only the personal lives of the students, but also has a favorable economic impact for the countries. A gift of education gives the next generation of young men and women the sorely needed opportunity to pursue long-term professional medical careers and better meet the needs of their families, as well as their communities.

Oisanne did in fact graduate from FSIL and is currently working in the maternity ward at Hôpital Sainte Croix—an MBF partner hospital in Haiti since 1982. Her efforts and work ethic will extend the reach of medical missions. Let that encourage you as we work towards the goal of sustainable health care together.