Here at Haven. we constructed the Jerusalem housing site in Gros Morne, Gonaïves in 2010/11 to provide housing and sanitation facilities to over 1,100 residents.
Valeri Derisaint lives in the Jerusalem village. Living with his mother, grandmother and two brothers – one older and one younger – Valeri’s father sadly passed away.
His family comes from the Mapou region of Gonaïves, but moved to the Jerusalem village at the end of 2010. For the first several months he lived on site, he attended a school in Gonaïves, where it took him a minimum of one hour to walk to school every day.
Valeri did not like walking so far because, if he was late, the teacher would close the door and not let him in to class. After walking so far, he would miss a day of school! He also found the walk every exhausting and dusty. Plus, the school was expensive for his mother – she had to pay HTG 1,100 (Haitian Gourde) per year.
Once the community-based school on site opened on 7 November 2011, Valeri transferred there to continue his studies. He is much happier there for many reasons.
Most significantly, Valeri no longer has to spend two hours walking on dusty, dangerous roads each day. His new school is very quick and easy for him to access, which gives him much more energy. With the time he saves each day, he studies and also helps his mother with household chores, such as fetching water and washing dishes. He likes the school and his teacher very much. He has a good friendship with other children who live on the site, and he likes going to school with them; they get along well, and enjoy playing and studying together.
Valeri wants to continue his studies and has many dreams for the future. He plans to learn English, because he wants to work as an interpreter when he grows up. A boy with a vision, we wish Valeri all the best and hope he achieves all of his goals!