Haiti refugee accepts scholarship to KU


WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – It’s that time of year when parents and high school seniors are on standby awaiting college acceptance letters. For one, that journey to college started in a small orphanage in Haiti. Sunday KSN spoke to a high school senior who says going to college is a dream come true.

“It’s different in Kansas,” explained Jasmine Martin. “When I lived in Haiti, I thought America was just full-out mountains and trees, but when I got here, there were no mountains and the trees always have fruit on them in Haiti, it’s different here.”

Reminiscing about here early childhood memories living in Haiti, Jasmine says there were good times but also times she wishes she could forget.

“I first went into an Orphanage in Haiti when I was three,” said Jasmine.

Born into poverty, Jasmine’s parents decided to give her up when she was three.

“They warned to give me a better life, that’s what parents do,” explained Jasmine. “Whatever way they can, they try to give their children the best life they know how to.”

When Jasmine was six, she was adopted by Wichita Missionaries and brought to the states.

“I had a lot of trauma from my early childhood that wasn’t dealt with when I got here,” explained Jasmine.

She said her unresolved issues from Haiti was more than her foster parents could handle so, after a year they gave Jasmine away.

“I kind of like became numb to everything that was going on at that time because I didn’t know how to deal with it. Nobody was helping me transition,” said Jasmine.

For the last 10 years, Jasmine has been in and out of group homes and even though she says this is not her ideal situation she is thankful to be in America.

“I eat everyday I have shelter like, I know if I go to get water there will always be water there,” she said.

Jasmine will be attending KU in the fall.

“I feel like everything I went through is worth it because somebody could read my story and it might inspired them,” she said.

Jasmine said she attributes some of her success to Rise Up For Youth, a local nonprofit that’s served as a mentor for her over the years. RUFY also played a role in helping Jasmine apply for college. Next weekend, the organization will be having an event to honor some of the young men in the program.

For more information on Rise up For Youth click here.

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