Here at Haven. we constructed the Jerusalem and Canaan villages – two housing sites to provide housing and sanitation solutions to 224 households – in Morne Blanc, Gonaïves, in 2010/11.
Haiti’s growth and its future lies in the hands of its children. No one recognises this more than the parents living in these two villages.
Over 1,100 residents live in the villages. They have high hopes for their children, and their greatest wish – after their housing needs had been met – was to establish a community-based school for their children to attend on site.
With the support of our community development team, the community came together to start a local school called Institution Mixte Jean Francois Baissau de Morne Blanc. A school management committee was formed; a school director was recommended by the Ministry of Education; teachers and assistants were recruited and trained; and the school opened its doors in November 2011.
Supported by the Ministry of Education and parents through school fees, the school offers classes from kindergarten to grade 5; the classes are currently being held at the community centers in Jerusalem and Canaan.
Demezier Dieulande is a very confident young girl who lives in the Canaan village. She is the eldest of her parent’s five children, with two brothers and two sisters.
Demezier’s mother is a home-maker, while her father works at a bakery. All four of the school-aged children go to school on site.
When she first moved to Canaan, Demezier used to attend a school that took her 45 minutes to reach each morning – 30 minutes walking and 15 minutes in a tap tap (local taxi). The same journey sometimes took her longer after school, because she would be more tired and the traffic would be heavier. She used to have pain in her legs because of walking for so long each day.
Now, Demezier attends the community-based school. She much prefers the school on site, because she now has only 12 students in her class and she gets a lot of personal attention from her teacher. In contrast, the class at her former school had 111 students! Demezier also much prefers the teaching method at Institution Mixte Jean Francois Baissau de Morne Blanc.
She plans to continue studying for as long as she is able. Her dream is to go to medical school in Port-au-Prince, then become a pediatrician. Ultimately, she wants to return to her village in Gonaïves and provide medical treatment to the children there.
She enjoys math, Creole and French, while her favourite subject is biology. We hope she continues her studies and becomes a future leader in the villages of Jerusalem and Canaan!