1-The Patrice Lumumba School: Education for All Children
What it is: The importance of education cannot be overstated, especially in Haiti where 60% of people are non-literate. A group of Ganthier teachers decided to put their meager resources together to build a school for all local children, regardless of their religious affiliation or ability to pay.
After more than two years, building a few inches at a time depending on available funding, the Patrice Lumumba School opened its doors. Today, the school educates 200 children.
Educating children should be the job of the government, but in Haiti only 10-15% of schools are public. Even though the government levies a tax for education on each money transfer, raising millions each year, no one can tell where are the new schools or new teachers.
The Lumumba school also offers classes for young men and women who have aged out of the education system. It offers them a second chance to finish their primary and secondary schooling, setting them up for a better future.
The building is not yet completed: the classroom floors and walls and the stoop need finishing to be safer and reduce dust, the school’s perimeter needs to be secured for children’s safety. The school is just a few feet away from to main road linking the Dominican Republic and Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince. All day long, trucks pass through at high speed, and accidents happen. Right now, the children cannot go outside during recess, or plant their garden so they can learn about nature, and better nutrition.
Update: EWI continues to support the school which we have been doing since its inception. We provided funding for construction, continue to cover part of teachers’ salaries, and donate books. More funding is needed to finish the construction, continue to support teachers, and secure the school’s perimeter so children can go outside and play, which is an important part of learning and socializing.
2- Women’s Voices and Choices: Literacy for Rural Women
What it is: Another important aspect of education is literacy. Using the Alfalit method, EWI offered a one-year course to teach 40 rural women how to read and write. Ernsie Romulus was trained to teach that course. She is a born leader, dynamic and well-organized.
All 40 women graduated and organized a beautiful ceremony to receive their diplomas.
We worked with Ernsie before when we helped organize: ‘Fenm Soley Leve’ (Women of the Rising Sun). We then hired Fenm Soley Leve to manage EWI’s microlending program to help women, small merchants, get back on their feet after the earthquake.
Update: Local women asked to establish the literacy course as a permanent program, which is now under consideration. Also, men who felt left out, asked to be included.
Photo © EWI 2016. Marie-Solange writing her name for the first time in her life.