Changemaker: Jessika, The Diplomat


The roosters make their morning call and Jessika is awake, sweeping the front yard, washing the dishes. Sometimes she will help her mother make breakfast for her younger brother and sister. Everything Jessika does is with purpose, her words too.

“If there was one thing I could change,” Jessika says as she moves about the yard. “It would be the environment. I don’t think it’s clean, and it’s our responsibility to take care of it.”

Across a grand river, and nearby the city of Lascahobas, there are five Summits schools along a long stretch of unpaved, dirt road. In one of those five, Jessika is in the 5th grade in the community of Roche La Pierre.

When Jessika is finished with her morning chores, she brushes her hair. She dresses for school and speaks of how much she loves group activities in class. Her favorite subject is French.


“I want to be a diplomat,” Jessika flashes a quick smile, and then looks down abashedly. “To better communicate.”

In class, Jessika has the air of someone who keeps mostly to herself. But she is surrounded by friends, leading group activities and making sure everyone is on the same page. When a question arises that no one is able to answer, it’s Jessika who is the first to raise her hand.


“I love my mother and father,” she says, flipping through her French book at recess. “They’ve been my example of good communicators. They never treat their neighbors bad.”

Her family had lived in Lascahobas before moving to the countryside. Lascahobas is less than an hour from the border between Haiti and the Dominican Republic. It was there, from a teacher in the school she was attending, that she first learned about diplomatic relations.


Whether or not they finish primary school, many kids will leave the country to migrate to the Dominican Republic. They have hopes of a better education, and more possibilities of finding a job. However, the relationship between the two countries is not so simple; and the situation for many Haitians immigrating to the Dominican Republic is not so easy. With such a complicated history between the two, it’s with communication that the answer can begin to be articulated. Some evenings, Jessika sits with her father and listens to the news happening around the country.

“If I can be a diplomat,” Jessika says coolly. “Maybe I can help heal the communication between others.”


Girls in Haiti on average drop out at age 7, but there’s the potential of transforming an entire community by educating just one girl.

“I consider girls in the society like flowers,” she says. “The world wouldn’t be beautiful if there weren’t women, because we are the heads of our communities.”

This is what we know at Summits: With an education, young girls like Jessika can be the next changemakers.


Summits Celebrates #GlobalHandwashingDay

Since 2010, thousands across Haiti have been affected by a devastating cholera outbreak. The epidemic originated in the Central Plateau, where all 41 of our primary schools are located.

This past week, Summits primary school Foyer des Enfants hosted a celebration for Jounen Mondyal Lave Men or Global Handwashing Day. Hosted by our partner Zanmi Lasante, Summits students were taught best sanitation practices in order to protect against cholera and other water and sanitation-related diseases.

Six Summits schools attended the big event which also included dancing, a talent show, and many rounds of musical chairs.

Celebrating Summits

Last week, we threw a HUGE party in the Central Plateau. Over 1,000 Summits students, teachers, community and family members assembled to celebrate our teachers and kick off the school year in style. There were fire-breathing clowns, breakdance battles, 100-degree temperatures, and amazingly – no thunderstorms! 

The celebration took place in Marouge on what will be the future site of Summits Academy, a teacher training facility and administrative hub for Summits and our partners in the Central Plateau. Community leaders, Summits teammates – including co-founders Marie Flore Chipps and Mike Chambers- along with partners and administrators welcomed and spoke to the crowd, congratulating them on their unwavering commitment to education.

The celebration also marked the first time our entire team was able to convene as one. Our 350 Summits educators and staff from both Boston and Haiti were able to celebrate the many successes of our young but mighty organization, together. 

Marie Flore, Cassandre, Ludji and the rest of the team in Haiti pulled together an absolutely momentous event. Everyone from the teachers we celebrated to the partners and guests we invited, to the students and families that scaled mountains to attend, had a blast.

We have big plans for the school year ahead and after this epic celebration, we know that together, anything is possible.

Help us make this school year the best one yet.