May 30th, 2013
05:00 AM ET

Life in a cracked house in Haiti

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By Julie Hays, CNN

(CNN) - Thirteen-year-old Rose Matrie lives in a cracked house.

The light that streams through the narrow slit in the concrete wall is an ever-present reminder of the earthquake that struck her home in Haiti in 2010 and devastated the already impoverished country. Still, Rose Matrie has big dreams for her future.

"I want to go to a big school in order to develop my talents," she says.

Her mother fastened a large chalkboard on the outside of their home to cover up the crack, and every day Rose Matrie does her homework there. Her teacher says she is very bright and excels in literature.

"When I let my imagination go, I think of extraordinary things," Rose Matrie says.

Her father lost his job after the earthquake, and though her mother works as a seamstress, there is little demand for her skills. Like many families in Haiti, her parents are struggling to pay the school fees to keep her and her five siblings enrolled.

In Haiti, public schools only meet about 20% of the demand for basic education in rural areas, and education costs, particularly for private schools, remain very high in relation to family income, according to the nonprofit Plan International USA.

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