The Fr Marc Piché Immaculate Conception Parish School‘s operations have continued without interruptions despite the ongoing issues Haiti is facing. There has been some difficulty sourcing ingredients for the feeding program at times (fuel shortages, inflation, and roadblocks have all contributed), but students have continued to receive meals each day at school.
Construction will begin on the school kitchen following the Easter holiday.
11 teachers recently participated in a 3-day refresher training on lesson planning, focusing on methods for teaching math and French.
On August 14th, our friends in Haiti were forced to overcome yet another life challenge when a large earthquake occurred in the southern peninsula near Les Cayes. Different than the earthquake which struck Port-au-Prince in 2010, this time the major seismic event epicenter occurred only about 20 miles from our school in Puit Chacha. Fortunately, our school did not sustain any major damage, which can be attributed to the seismic building standards used during the construction in 2012. Although the earthquake greatly impacted many communities on the southern peninsula, our school was able to resume classes and continue with the important lunch program.
It appears that our catchment community, which includes Fond-des-Blancs, has been able to deal with the latest disruption to their “normal” life and continue on. From my perspective and what I witnessed first-hand during my trips to Haiti, the philosophy of most of the people is to address adversity, make adjustments, and carry-on with life while never losing hope that it will get better. I am pleased to report that our school community is resilient and moving forward with the 21-22 school year as planned. We are making some improvements to the building and kitchen area. More and more students are taking advantage of our secondary school scholarship program. If everything goes well, we will graduate our first Chacha student through the 13th grade of high school next year. It has been another challenging time for our friends in Haiti, but we should be inspired by their resilience and learn to always maintain hope regardless of the circumstances.
Despite the many obstacles to fundraising during the pandemic, the constant generosity of IC parishioners and other supporters has allowed IC Haiti to fund the entire 2021-22 school year budget. In addition, we are making a sizeable donation to St. Boniface Hospital in Fond-des-Blancs to help to defray the cost for the construction of new operating rooms there. For this, our Board of Directors is most grateful to all who have contributed financially and to all who have supported this ministry with prayer. May Our Lord continue to bless our commitment to our brothers and sisters in Haiti.
I see Haiti, I see hope.
Stuart Meurer, President of the IC Haiti Board of Directors
We have received word that our school community in Puit Chacha is safe and that the school itself remains structurally sound following the devastating earthquake on the southern peninsula of the island. However, several thousand people closer to the epicenter sadly lost their lives, and many more are suffering from serious bodily injuries. Homelessness and a lack of food supplies, clean water, and shelter continue to afflict hundreds of thousands.
Cardinal Sean O’Malley requested all parishes throughout the Archdiocese to take up a second collection this weekend to aid Catholic Relief Service’s response to the urgent needs of the Haitian people. IC Haiti fully supports this relief effort. We were also hoping to help Saint Boniface Hospital in Fond des Blancs as many earthquake victims have been transferred there for immediate medical attention. The hospital is setting up additional emergency operating rooms to deal with the constant flow of people needing surgery. Hospitals closer to the epicenter have either been badly damaged or are now inundated with patients. Less we forget, covid is still on the rise in Haiti.
St. Boniface Hospital is run by Health Equity International, our partner in Haiti. This is why we (IC Haiti) would like to help to defray the cost for the construction and equipping of the additional operating rooms. If you would like to help in this endeavor, please donate to IC Haiti any time after this weekend, designating your contribution specifically for this purpose or just indicate “OR construction” on your check. We thank you in advance for your generosity on behalf of the people of Haiti.
Thanks to all who contributed to the August second collection for IC Haiti. We received over $10,000 in the collection which will assure funding for the 2021-22 school year in Puit Chacha and continued dental care for the school community. Last year we spent $80,000 on the school budget which included a hot lunch program, $3,000 for the dental program, and $20,000 in emergency assistance to build an annex for coronavirus patients at the hospital in Fond des Blancs which serves the Puit Chacha community among others in the region. Thanks to a gift from one generous donor, we still have funds in reserve to expand the kitchen area in the school and to provide a much needed second well for the community.
Still the Haitian people continue to be hit with natural disasters while at the same time being forced to cope with the ongoing instability of their political, social, and economic institutions resulting from the recent assassination of their president and the prevalence of gang violence. We, the Board of Directors for IC Haiti, received an update this past weekend from representatives of Health Equity International which owns and operates the hospital in Fond des Blancs. The devastating 7.2 earthquake was centered just 20 miles away from the hospital and our school. Fortunately, the people at the hospital were not injured, and the hospital itself did not receive any major damage. It remains structurally sound despite the aftershocks. As of Monday, August 16th, we were still awaiting word on the school and the school community. We are ready and willing to respond to any emergency needs, but our remaining un-designated funds are not inexhaustible. The final collection this year for IC Haiti is not until December, so we may have to make a special appeal to the parish on behalf of the Puit Chacha community before then. In the meantime, we will continue to update you as we receive news on the situation.
The first quarterly collection for IC Haiti will be taken up on Palm Sunday weekend (March 27–28). Once again, we appeal to your care for, and generosity toward, the children and school community of Puit Chacha, Haiti.Last year, despite a reduction in our collection totals, we were able to keep the school up and running during the pandemic. We were also able to provide funding for the construction of a Covid-care building for those who were unable to be attended to properly at home or at the hospital complex in Fond des Blanc.During this Lenten season, all of us are encouraged to deepen our relationship with Our Lord Jesus Christ through prayer and acts of mercy. Although we are thousands of miles away from Haiti, we have been invited since 2009 to see our Haitian brothers and sisters with the eyes of Christ. Let us continue to support them with our prayers and almsgiving.
Please use the special IC Haiti envelops and make out checks to “IC Haiti.” 42 Green St., Newburyport 01950
First, ICHaiti would like to thank all who contributed so generously to our 4th quarter 2017 collection. We appreciate your ongoing support. Please remember that over 99% of your donation goes directly to Haiti to help the people we serve.
ICHaiti’s mission is to support healthcare and education in Haiti. Our primary project is the Fr. Marc Piche Immaculate Conception School located in Puit Chacha, Haiti. This K-6 grade school provides an education and free meal service to over 300 children who would otherwise be without easy access to a school.
Recent updates from our team on the ground in Haiti included news that the school is now working to improve the quality of education by providing teacher training. This article is a moving tribute to the success of our school in Puit Chacha!
ChaCha School Trains Teachers to Help Build Literacy in Southern Haiti
The ChaCha School was founded in 1986 in ChaCha, a community of Fonds des Blancs. SBHF has supported the school since 2010, when IC Haiti partnered with SBHF to fund construction of a new school building. IC Haiti continues to fund operating expenses for the school and a school feeding program which ensures that the over 200 students there get a nutritious meal every day. Today, the ChaCha School has become one of the premier primary schools in Fond des Blancs.
Alson Jeune, the current principal of the Cha Cha School, grew up in the community and remembers before the school was built, “When I was a kid I walked 7 or 8 kilometers to attend school in another community. Due to this huge distance, we wanted a school in our community, but it took many years before we were able to start a small school in the church building here. I feel very proud about having this great school in my community, and the fact that our kids do not have to walk many kilometers to attend school, as I did.”
The school was supported by the church for many years, but when it outgrew the church building IC Haiti and SBHF stepped in to support construction and growth of the school.
The ChaCha School recently held a teacher training session for teachers from the Fond des Blancs community, as well as some educators from Les Cayes. Principal Jeune explained, “the idea is to avoid some gaps in our education system, to help our kids have better pedagogic support. We are focusing particularly around reading and writing, which is a big gap for many primary school students in rural Haiti.” This was the second teacher training session that the ChaCha School has run, with support from SBHF and IC Haiti.
Gady Lorsenat was the lead trainer for this session. He has been conducting teacher training sessions for several years, and takes pleasure in his work helping teachers improve their skills and work to improve the pedagogic system for students in southern Haiti. “For this training we focused on technical reading, as we know that the teachers are already familiar with these themes and the methods used, but could use some updates and improvements in their skills. We did simulation exercises to work on methods for teaching reading, and the teachers said they enjoyed the training. We know that reading is the first step of learning, and there are many gaps for our students being able to read well. We had a discussion with the teachers about the causes of their students’ reading problems, and talked about teaching techniques to address those problems.”
Nadege Dorcé has been a primary school teacher at ChaCha for five years, and participated in the training. She noted that, while all of the teachers had learned techniques for teaching reading, this professional development opportunity allowed them to refresh their skills and learn new ones to improve their teaching techniques. “We learned things like expressive reading, new methods for teaching reading, and how to teach students to answer questions from material they have read. I feel like I now have a better approach to take with my students. This training has been very helpful.”
Thanks to IC Haiti for their support of the ChaCha School, which is helping increase access to high quality education for children in the Fond des Blancs area. As SBHF and St. Boniface Hospital have increased the number of good jobs in the area, more and more children look forward to staying in their community and giving back by working at the hospital, in the schools, or in other businesses that have grown up in the community because of these opportunities and services. The ChaCha School is starting many young people on this path, and is a key part of the region’s development potential.