Education for Youth in Haiti

Our Story:

Following the devastating January 2010 Earthquake in Haiti, compounding affects forced "Joie D'Espoir", the "School of Hope" to relocate the school and 150 students onto land owned by the founder. At the new location, the building did not resemble a school, but a makeshift structure with bamboo poles for the skeleton and large tarp as a roof.  Plastic also provided walls as dividers between the 6 classrooms, and the facility had no access to running water or sanitary latrine.

"Joie D'Espoir," was founded in 1976 by Maitre Jean Hilairme in the small rural community of Ravine Nomand in the South East Department of Haiti near the coastal town of Jacmel. It draws students grades K-6 together for daily instruction in a country whose illiteracy rate is approximately 50% and most people in rural areas have not completed a primary level education. There is little protection from the elements, and the makeshift structure does not provide privacy or an environment for learning.  While other schools in surrounding areas have moved forward with rebuilding, the "School of Hope" has not yet been able to rebuild, and has been identified as one of the most vulnerable schools in the area. If the youth of Haiti are not provided with access to education "“ how can there be a future for Haiti?

The Need:
"¢    55 % of school-aged children out of school (prior to the earthquake)
"¢    16.6% of females ages 15 - 19 & 20% of females age 20 -24 are illiterate in the South East Department    
"¢    Over 2.5 million children experienced an interruption in their schooling (post-earthquake)
"¢    20% of children attend public schools, which accounted for only 8 % of all schools (prior to earthquake)
"¢    55% of rural residents have access to safe water (prior to earthquake)
"¢    More than four out of ten children "“ 1.7 million "“ with no access to proper sanitation.
"¢    One in 5 children "“ 861,000 "“ with no access to clean water (prior to the earthquake)

The Response:

This May 24th "“ June 2nd, a group of social work students from Fordham University Graduate School of Social Service Haiti Study Tour 2013 led by Dr. Marciana Popescu will be traveling to Haiti to begin phase 1 of the building process for the "School of Hope". The Fordham GSS Haiti Study Tour 2013 will be partnering with two grassroots NGOs: KONPAY and Social Tap, Inc.'s The Haiti Initiative (THI) who have played key roles in community development of the area. A few of their recent projects include producing clean cook stoves to decrease environmental pollutants while improving health and safety, a tree nursery to address deforestation, a youth development program with teenagers, a safety and human rights campaign in the nearby tent city, and a job training program for former sex workers.
After the earthquake, both organizations also mobilized a grassroots cholera awareness campaign to improve health and sanitation practices that reached over 10,200 individuals from Jacmel and targeted rural communities and schools including 6,341 Students and 393 teachers.

The Response:
"¢    Fordham Haiti Study Tour will be the 1st group to begin the construction of the school starting with Phase 1: which is inclusive of the foundation.
"¢    Fordham Haiti Study Tour will be partnering with Social Tap, Inc.'s The Haiti Initiative (THI) & KONPAY "Konbit Pou Ayiti" who have been working collaboratively towards a sustainable solution for Joie D'Espoire, since 2010.
"¢    In 2011 THI & KONPAY partnered with FAARM to develop a Holistic design for the new school including innovative solutions, such as KONPAY's "Compost "˜Dry Toilet" for hygienic sanitation and the Institutional Clean Cook Stove for the kitchen.   

The Project:

With your help, we social work students will be able to purchase building supplies and complete 60% of the foundation with your contributions! We are scraping together the funds we need to in order to travel independently of this fundraiser so that all of your generous donations will go directly to the school. We will be spending our spring break there and hope to make as big of an impact as possible to get the school started.
Haiti continues to be ranked among the most impoverished and under-educated countries in the world. Access to quality education for all citizens is one well-known factor in poverty reduction, in addition to being a basic human right.

Who We Are:   
Haiti Study Tour 2013
Led by Dr. Marciana Popescu (Professor, Fordham GSS), with accompanied support from fellow colleagues and both returning Professor to the field in Haiti Dr. Manoj Pardasani (Fordham GSS).
We are a group of 7 Graduate Social Work Students and 2 Professors from Fordham University Graduate School of Social Service, who will be traveling to Haiti for 9 days in from May 24th through the June 1st. While we are there we will be volunteering our efforts on several projects of Social Tap, Inc.'s THI & KONPAY's. Our main focus will be on the "Education for the Youth in Haiti: School Development Project: "Joie D'Espoir" (School of Hope) in Ravine Nomad.

Collaborators on the Project:

Kara Lightburn, Executive Director & Founder, Social Tap, Inc. The Haiti Initiative (THI)  Since 2010 THI has been collaborating with KONPAY targeting school development projects as one of their 7 core areas of focus, through their collaborative cholera awareness campaign which identified schools who offered so much to the community yet lacked insufficient access to clean water, access to prevention methods of cholera and water bore diseases with hand washing stations, and a kitchen at the Ecole Nationale de Cyvadier and funded the pilot of KONPAY's Institutional Clean Cook Stove for the local public school which serves over 400 meals a day. As apart of the program the school also receives an Alternative Fuel Press with training for the production of alternative charcoal briquettes made of local organic matter (such as coconuts) for economic opportunity and sustainability efforts. For these collaborative projects THI facilitate volunteer, group, and community involvement and provides continuous monitoring towards all the School Development projects and maintenance when necessary.   

Joe Duplan, President of KONPAY, "KONBIT POU AYITI," which means in creole "Working Together for Haiti, is a Haitian non-profit founded in 2004 and registered as a non-profit with the Haitian government. KONPAY develops Haitian solutions to environmental, social and economic problems through collaboration, trainings, grassroots and community-based development projects and youth programs for a brighter Haiti. The "Joie D'Espoir" school build project is not Joe Duplan's or KONPAY's first school which they have built for a rural community in Haiti. In 2008/2009 KONPAY built a primary school in Cap Wouj located in the hills near Jacmel for 150 youth - Over 300 primary youth attend the over flowing classrooms. The school has become sustainable as the Ministry of Education has approved the school to be a state public primary school for Cap Wouj, enabling long-term support from a ministry of Haiti which we are continuously promoting on strengthening, The Ecole Nationale de Cap Wouj incorporates the majority of the key components of the school development model, including a compost "dry" latrine, tree nursery, water cistern, and rain catchment system.

Irene Brisson, Vice-President and a Co-Founder of FAARM: (Focus on Architecture Art Research Making), a non-profit the cultivated social, economic and environmental growth through its Focus on Architecture, Art, Research and Making. They are designers and architects developing innovating solutions for sustainable building. Together with the local client, construction professionals and artisans, we build upon our collective expertise so that all are empowered to participate in the long-term development of their communities. (Have been collaborating with THI & KONPAY since January 2011. Students from a Spring 2011 Studio course at Parsons The New School: School of Constructed Environments collaborated with FAARM (formerly Studio Unite) and THI to develop site strategies and a schematic design for the rebuilt school. Students traveled to Haiti in June 2011 for a site visit and to review the designs with the school administration and solicit feedback from teachers, parents, students, and community members. This upcoming June/July 2013 Irene Brisson will be bring the second group of 8-10 students for 5 weeks to do a study design and participate in the build.

The Impact:
"¢    Increased access to education for youth of primary school age in rural community
"¢    Provided a safe, sustainable, learning environment for 150 youth & with an estimated 300 by 2016
"¢    Access to hygienic sanitation facilities (Compost "Dry" Latrine)
"¢    Provides economic opportunity for the school
"¢    Promotes and creates an educational awareness around deforestation and innovative solutions
"¢    Access to preventive methods for cholera
"¢    Access to clean water
"¢    Creates safety and security for girls and women
"¢    Provides skill training and job development for youth and local community members
"¢    Increases in-community capacity overall

What We Need:
Construction material purchased locally in Haiti and employing 8 local skilled labor totally $5,000 US. This amount of material will be enough to complete the foundation.

What you get:
A letter of thanks from a child from the school made during an arts & craft activity with the Fordham GSS Haiti Study Tour 2013 Group while they are in Haiti this May and working on the school - to let you know how many lives your contribution has touched!

Other ways you can help:

Spread the Word!!!

Whether you donate or not please help us spread the word! Post us on your Facebook, PinInterest, Twitter and email your friends about our project. Remember: there is no such thing as a small good deed.

In-Kind Donation:
"¢    We are also in need of school supplies for the primary public school, notebooks, pens, pencils, sharpeners, rulers, crayons, markers, chalk, and erasers. You can drop off in-kind donations or mail to either Fordham University Westchester or Lincoln Center campuses c/o Marciana Popescu.

Sign-up for a Volunteer Opportunity in Haiti to join an upcoming group this 2013 to help build the School of Hope.

Donate via Check
You can donate by sending a check, payable to: Social Tap, Inc.
Mailing Address:
17 Hillcrest View
Hartsdale, NY 10530

By sending a check your donation will avoid the 5% GoFundme charges to use their online fundraising campaign.

Please help us make this school no longer a hope in the hearts of so many but a reality for Education for the Youth of Haiti!

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Kara Lightburn 
New York, NY
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