While teaching at a Catholic high school in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Conor Bohan decided to sponsor one of his student’s lifelong dreams of becoming a doctor. Bohan covered tuition — just over $1,000 for a year of medical school — with his $200 monthly stipend from his job and a little help from his parents. Bohan realized many similar students could never afford the tuition to attend college and he continued to expand his search for top students throughout Port-au-Prince and the surrounding area. In his free time, Bohan began soliciting friends and other family members for scholarship donations and set up a small committee to award the money.
As the number of students expanded, Bohan dubbed the organization HELP, the Haitian Education and Leadership Program. Under his leadership, HELP has grown from a single student to the largest university scholarship program in Haiti, graduating 46 students to date, every one of whom is either employed or pursuing graduate work. HELP is currently supporting 120 students for the 2012-2013 academic year.
In addition to founding and growing HELP, Bohan was a volunteer teacher, deputy director of the National Democratic Institute (NDI) in Haiti, and director of Haiti Programs for the American Institutes for Research (AIR). Bohan has a BA in History from Brown University and was named one of the Hemisphere’s Innovators by Americas Quarterly Magazine in 2008.