2018 Haiti School Progress Report
As 2018 comes to a close, we’re excited to report on the Haiti School project and the fundraising and construction progress that has occurred this year.
The Haiti School Project (Collège Lumiere – School of Lights) is currently 37% funded with the bulk of these funds having been deployed to purchase a 7.5 acre parcel of land and to construct a ten foot high perimeter wall around the entire parcel.
After funds were deployed for the land purchase and perimeter wall, the project account has a balance of $156,500, which represents 67% of the amount required to complete construction of Phase One. Funds for FF&E, Phase Two, and Phase Three are still outstanding, but efforts to raise them are ongoing.
The land was purchased on April 21st, 2017 for $260,000. This 7.5 acre parcel is located in a prime spot directly off Route 2, which is southern Haiti’s primary transportation route. Moreover, the property is located almost directly in the center of the community of Torbek and is very close to Les Cayes, the largest city in Southern Haiti. This makes it an optimal location as it will attract students from a wide area.
The perimeter wall was completed in July 2018. This was an important accomplishment for several reasons. First, land without a wall may be easily encroached upon by adjacent property owners seeking to expand their own holdings, so once the official property lines were established, building the wall secured them. Second, security for any school is paramount to its success, and the construction of the perimeter wall around the land will bolster parent confidence. Finally, it provided a source of income for hundreds of Haitians, thereby solidifying community support of the project (see LAND DEVELOPMENT below).
Teacher training is a priority for the school’s administrative team. They intend to not only hire the best, but to provide training opportunities that most other schools don’t. To this end, there are ways we can help. To start, we have partnered with the Head of School of one of Irvine’s premiere private Christian primary schools to develop a teacher training program that will pair Haitian teachers with American teachers for in-person and virtual relationship-building and professional education.
For years, Troy Moore of Mariners Christian School (MCS) has been volunteering with the non-profit “Teachers Training Teachers”, which is a robust ministry in Haiti that pairs American teachers with their Haitian counterparts for cross-training that results in better-prepared educators. This ministry has done great work in Haiti, and Troy has offered to use his experience with them to create a cross-training program exclusively for Pastor Samuel and his team. This in-country partnership will kick-off in February 2019 when Troy and a team of teachers from MCS will be spending their winter break in Torbeck.
Grades K through 4 will be ready for enrollment in spring 2019. At least, that’s the goal. It’s a lofty one, but one which we feel is realistic given our current account balance and a generous in-kind furniture donation from MCS which we plan to ship next summer prior to the September start of the 2019 school year.
The following photos represent the land pre- and post-perimeter wall construction. Once funds were raised, the perimeter wall, along with drainage diversion and grading of the land for temporary agricultural use, was completed within two months. This was an amazing accomplishment, considering the size of the 7.5 acre parcel!