After the earthquake in Haiti destroyed much of the country’s higher-education infrastructure, the University of the People decided to set up three computer centers there, inviting English-speaking students from nearby tent cities to come and study for free.
Shai Reshef, the Israeli entrepreneur who spent $1 million to create the tuition-free university two years ago, enlisted hundreds of volunteer professors — more, he said, than he has been able to use — to teach 10-week online courses to 1,000 students from more than 100 countries.
Since many Haitian students do not have access to the Internet, the University of the People works with on-the-ground allies to establish Student Computer Centers in the region. Managed by a support staff, the Centers are equipped with computers and high speed Internet connection.
“After high school, I could not go to university because it was too expensive. Every day, I would stand in the street talking with my friends about what we would do if we had money. We hoped that 2010 would be better, but then the earthquake destroyed everything, houses, businesses and many lives,” said Elysée, a 21-year-old UoPeople student. “University of the People is better than food and a tent. And education is even better than a visa or a green card.”
(READ the story in the New York Times)