School project in Cap-Haitien, Haiti
The school “Ecole de la Médaille Miraculeuse” is an initiative founded by a lay community of Haitian Christians in 2001. Although free school attendance is supposed to be guaranteed by the state in accordance with Haiti’s constitution, the reality is completely different. Only slightly fewer than 25% of school-age children actually attend the constantly overcrowded classes in state schools, and only a fraction of these complete their education.
The lay community has set itself the objective of allowing children in the slums of Cap-Haitien, in the north of the country, to attend school. The school is free because the parents of these children are too poor to pay the school fees. The school has thus been set up on the basis of donations and therefore looks set to rely on donated funds for its upkeep for the foreseeable future.
At the beginning, 24 children attended the school, which was housed in a warehouse in the centre of Cap Haitien. Two years ago, the school moved to a new building constructed by the American aid organisation “Food for the Poor”. Today, 400 children attend the school. However, it still lacks necessary facilities which “Food for the Poor” was unable to provide, such as a wall to protect the school campus, water and electricity supply for the buildings, sanitation facilities and a canteen kitchen. The protective wall is absolutely vital for the school, because it is often targeted by thieves who steal food and equipment. In addition, local cattle destroy all efforts to use the school land for agricultural purposes in an attempt to supplement the children’s diet. Furthermore, until the school is recognised by the state, staff wages have to be paid for out of donations, something which it is not always possible to do.
action five is supporting the school and paying the teacher’s salaries for the coming five months. We also want to apply to the BMZ for funding to cover the wall, the water supply and staff wages for the next two years.
The lay community is working to improve society in Haiti by giving many children a chance in life through education and is contributing in the broader sense to realising the Millennium Development Goals of fighting illiteracy and poverty.