January 12, 2017

HAITI: Seven years after the earthquake, we can never forget.

Seven years ago the earth shook in Haiti. Prior to this disastrous moment in Haiti’s history, Fe y Alegría had already spent four years working in the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. For both Friends of Fe y Alegría and Foi et Joie Haïti (Fe y Alegría in French), education has always been an effective way to pursue the eradication of poverty. Before the earthquake in 2010, Haiti had a literacy rate of 62% and almost 3 million children were out of the formal education system. School facilities were of low quality and teacher training was very deficient. After the earthquake, though, access to school became an even higher priority in a devastated context with no solid infrastructure and where over 5,000 schools were destroyed and 500,000 boys and girls were left without access to an education.

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Following the immediate aftermath of the earthquake, Foi et Joie and its partners developed the Emergency Educational Reconstruction Program. Some of the most notable achievements over the last seven years are:

   •   The construction of 38 new classrooms, where over 1,880 students attend school every year.
   •   The training of 400 new teachers.
   •   Technical training courses provided to 2,845 young boys and girls in 13 subjects.

While this program has ended, Foi et Joie and Friends of Fe y Alegría continue to support education in Haiti in various ways, including institutional strengthening.

Friends of Fe y Alegría also sprung into action to support Foi et Joie following the devastating effects of Hurricane Matthew last October. With the generous support of donors all over the country, calculated to be more than $3,650, Foi et Joie has been responding to the needs of local communities over the past few months. (View updates that we have received from Haiti here.)  Foi et Joie Haïti’s national team, based in Port-au-Prince, has been mainly working in the following three areas:

   –  Recovery of school facilities: Including, but not limited to, the construction of three classrooms with cement roofs, a plan to create access to potable water, the construction of a school kitchen and the construction of a medical/health care block.

   –   Recovery of means of life: 300 families from Desormeaux (Grand’Anse) have already received seed packages, agricultural tools and pesticides. These first contributions are meant to encourage local communities to rebuild their towns/villages and to remain hopeful for the future. Additionally, a new training course on the production of natural pesticides and the financial management of crop yields will be implemented during the month of January.

   –   Recovery and the mitigation of natural disasters: Preparation and development of a manual and training proposals on trauma and the prevention of natural disasters.

While these areas are the current focus of our work, together with Foi et Joie we continue to evaluate local needs, including the need to reconstruct schools/education centers, local homes in the communities where the damaged Foi et Joie schools are located and the purchase of school furniture/materials.

We invite you to join us in remembering this tragic anniversary. Spread the word to your friends and family by becoming an ambassador for Haiti or please consider monthly donations to the General Fund for Haiti, so that together we can be a part of the change in Haiti.

Hall