As we grow, our vision is to replicate the model we have created in Zorange and carry it out in key locations throughout the Sud-Est Department of Jacmel - while keeping our same commitment to equipping Haitians to change their country and make a difference in their communities, rather than just providing hand outs. We can't wait to see what happens next and look forward to an even stronger second decade. We'll be doing a more in-depth post with Lydia in January, but for now, please welcome her on board!
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Thursday, November 11, 2010
“School’s out forever…”
It's every kid's dream, the anthem of each summer and the subject of those clever Alice Cooper Staples commercials. But, unfortunately, it’s also the reality for many children in Haiti when they reach the end of their primary school education.
In Haiti, even before the earthquake, the enrollment rate for primary school was 67 percent, with less than 30 percent of elementary school students reaching 6th grade. In other words, out of every 100 children, fewer than 20 receive an education above an elementary school level, if they receive that at all. The rural population – like the people of Zorange - is underrepresented in the school system, making those statistics even more dramatic.
Enter the Hope for Haiti Foundation school. Founded as an elementary school in 2000, with the primary school opening in 2006, not only does it provide access to both primary and secondary education for children who might not otherwise receive it, but it offers LOCAL education. Before, if a child did have an opportunity to continue their education, they would have to move to the city. Now, they can stay home with their families and use their knowledge and education to build strong rural communities. We have added a grade each year since we have started the school, hoping that in the near future, a student will be able to attend the HFHF school for their entire education.
Marie Lucia Pierre understands the need for educational opportunities in the mountains and countryside of Haiti. Growing up in Zorange, where she now works, she faced the hard choice of moving away from home or dropping out school.
“When I finished sixth grade, I had to move to Port au Prince,” she said, when asked about how HFHF has changed the community in Zorange. “Today, I wouldn’t have to move to continue my education.”
"I hope that as [HFHF's work] continues, we will have an awesome community," she added.
Doin' it, doin' it, doin' it well
As one of the only schools offering higher level education in the region, we recognize our responsibility to create a strong program that focuses not just on academics, but on building character and creating opportunities for fun and personal growth.
Louis Adam, the head of education for HFHF, described his vision for students at HFHF’s school:
“A few years ago, we created the portrait of a graduate of our school. We determined the skills and knowledge beyond the academics that a graduate from our school should possess. With athletics, the library, the computer lab, the enriched curriculum, and the character counts program, I am happy to say that we are on our way in producing well-rounded, productive young Haitians from Zorange.”
Marie is one of the people who is instrumental in making sure students at our school get more than just reading, writing and arithmetic. As a leader of LIJAS, the academic and sports league, and the afterschool programs, Marie is responsible for overseeing the children’s club that meets on the weekends, the sports leagues and cultural activities, all of which create opportunities for students to grow into responsible, well-rounded adults – and have fun!
“We know it will help them grow, and the cultural aspect of the work helps them have fun,” she said.
We’ve got some academic rockstars at our school, too! Recent exam results reveal that we are doing well at the primary level. For three years straight, we have reached 90 percent passing rate, a rate much higher than the national average.
Remember that announcement we promised? Well, one of the most exciting parts of the new school year is that, for the first time, those 9th graders from last year got to stick around for one more year. That's right - Hope for Haiti Foundation now offers 10th grade. Not only is this incredibly significant for this year's class of 10th graders who were able to continue their education, but it brings the HFHF school into Tier 3 education, a monumental step for rural education. Haiti’s educational system is based on the French system and is divided into three tiers: Pre-K to 6th grade, 7th to 9th grade and 10th grade to terminale. Essentially, our school is now a high school, in addition to an elementary and secondary school. Now, the Hope for Haiti Foundation school is the only one in the area, other than the school in the city of Bainet, that offers classes in the third tier of education. We’re so excited, we could do a High School Musical jump!
We plan to continue our trend of adding a new grade each year, and we can't wait to graduate a class of students who were able to start and finish school at the HFHF school, in their hometown.
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
From what we can tell by following the news and social media, it seems that other parts of Haiti fared as best as possible too. The greatest threat in the next few weeks will be the spread of cholera, as feared before the storm. There have been some confirmed cases in Port au Prince, and if the disease has a chance to get a hold in such a crowded city, the results could be disastrous. Please keep Haiti in your prayers as they try to hold off the disease.
Thursday, November 4, 2010
We’ve gotten reports saying that there are currently strong winds and rain in Zorange and in Port au Prince. School is closed throughout the country, the Port au Prince airport is closing this afternoon and the worst of Tomas is scheduled to hit
In earthquake-ravaged Port au Prince, the obvious threat is to the 1.3 million people still crammed into tents throughout the crowded city. They have no basement to hide in, no place to ride out the storm. The tent cities are so vulnerable that when a strong storm system (not a hurricane or anything of the sort – just a strong storm) passed over Port au Prince on September 25, five people died from poles and trees falling on the camps. Flash floods are also a huge risk in the crowded city, once again, made more damaging by the lack of shelter.
To make matters worse,
Not to be trite, but it truly is the perfect storm of potentially disastrous effects.
The world’s eyes will be on Port au Prince over the next few days, and rightfully so, but since Hope for Haiti Foundation primarily works in the countryside of
Bainet, the largest city in the area, with 100,000 people, temporarily shuts down. People of this city will not be able to transport their goods to
Medical care will be inaccessible in the event of a hurricane. Because of the flood risk, people will not walk or cross rivers to get to the clinic, even if they need medical treatment. Even on normal rainy days in
Most schools will close. Luckily, the HFHF school is aware of which students must cross rivers to get to school. The group is the minority, and we offer excused absences to teachers and students who can’t get to school in the event of a flood. Hopefully we’ll be able to operate fairly normally after the storm.
Interestingly, the day after the hurricane, there is plenty of food. Fruit trees shed their fruit in the high winds and rain, and coconuts and other fruits are all over the ground. Unfortunately, once off the tree, this fruit can only last a few days. Without any way to preserve it, the majority of the food supply runs out in a just a few days, and there isn’t any more fruit on the trees to pick. Animals, like goats, pigs and chickens, are often lost, scared off by the winds or washed off by the rain. Hunger can set in quickly after a major storm.
To a country that’s already struggling with deforestation and erosion, the environmental impact of a storm is huge. Trees are uprooted, often ending up in the ocean.
Elade, our founder, recounts riding out several of these storms while growing up in
“I've experienced a few of these hurricanes and it is not fun. I remember my home was covered with grass, not tin. It was leaking and one time we were afraid that the house would collapse. I remember thinking of escape routes to take my cousins, away from tall trees, and hide in open fields just to get away from the danger. Now the homes are a little sturdier than before, and perhaps most of them will survive and not collapse, but the fear remains. Life as we know it in the countryside comes to a stop until the sky clears up."
We're continuing to track the storm and will provide updates as we have them. Please keep everyone in