Recent news revealed the pledge of the United States to rebuild Haiti is not being met. Despite international donors pledging billions of dollars to help Haitians “build back better,” little progress has resulted. Despite progress in Haiti being easier with established programs developed prior toHaiti’s earthquake, much of the recovery fund was awarded to projects that were not damaged during the earthquake. To help the country “build back better,” it is critical for volunteers and relief organizations to offer programs geared to promoting the eight MDGs goals including vocational training and projects that promote economic sustainability for the long term.
Lack of education has had a significant role in impoverishing economic development ofHaiti. The deficiency of education has long been a problem. Haitihas about 4.5 million school-age children, about half of whom were attending school before the earthquake. The Washington, D.C.-based American Institutes for Research (AIR) was the largest funded education program worth $25.6 million before the quake, designed to train teachers.
However, after the quake, AIR vice president Jane Benbow said. “We need you to take the resources you have left, and we need you to redirect them. We need you to start doing other things with that money.” Fortunately, last year USAID announced that a $12 million AIR project had “constructed or is in the process of constructing more than 600 semi-permanent classrooms serving over 60,000 students.” In actuality, according to AIR spokesperson Larry McQuillan, only 322 classrooms were built. They were serving at least 38,640 students each day, many in two shifts.
Today, about half of Haiti’s school-age children attend school, about the same as before the catastrophe. The dearth of qualified teachers contributes to the low caliber of many Haitian schools, which is why it is critical for volunteers to offer educational training.
Many Haitians cannot afford to pay even the modest school costs for uniforms and books. About 92 percent of schools are privately owned and financed, meaning they are tuition-based. Because ofHaiti’s extreme poverty, schools are unaffordable and therefore inaccessible to the majority of families.
As a result of limited family resources, families are forced to have their children drop out of school. In addition, there is an extreme shortage of textbooks, desks, chairs, and teaching materials and inadequate infrastructure that has created the impossible challenges for students and teachers. There are not enough school buildings to accommodate all the school-age youth inHaiti, and the lack of technology in the schools (computers, Internet access) further limits learning.
To help improve educational conditions and ensure that proper progress is being done,Haitineeds the assistance of donations to help Haitian families offset the costs and resources needed to provide quality education. Understanding this need, HavServe recently organized a back to school drive to fill 2,000 backpacks–filled with school supplies. The HavServe drive for funds to help the little ones ofHaiticontinues online. A donation of $10 can make the difference in a child’s education and life.
Haiti suffers from an overwhelming amount of debt. When the earthquake hit, world lenders were already several years into forgiving Haiti’s substantial loans, many of which dated back to funds used by the dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier. Lessening the debt is one of the most powerful things the US can do for Haiti, and we can assist through donations, grants and projects that create economic sustainability.
Although progress has been made in the last two years, it is not enough. Haitiis falling behind the goals set by United Nations as the MDG 8 goals–ending poverty and fostering economic development. To meet the pledge of theUnited States, it is more critical than ever for donations of money and time. Haitians need help with training and development projects to improve the social and economic infrastructure. Vocational and teacher’s trainings are a key factor for the development of human capital in Haiti. Fortunately, HavServe offers teachers training programs, assistance with school supplies and provides ongoing economic development programs to assist with these needs in the small village of Lebrun,Haiti.
HavServe volunteers are designing an education center, which will house first class teachers and classrooms. The architecture is being designed in Dublin, Ireland by architect Gavan Lee. Gavan and Team Education Center Lebrun are all volunteers.
To learn more about how you can help, become a volunteer, trainer or donate school supplies log onto havserve.org and http://shop.kitsforkidz.org/catalog/havserv,245.htm