On Monday Feb. 22, the Aristide Foundation for Democracy inaugurated its first mobile school in front of Building 2004 (near the Parc Jean-Marie Vincent refugee settlement). Mobile School openings at three other locations followed in quick succession this week. Community support for this project has been overwhelmingly positive, with over 1,500 children now enrolled in the program.
Open-air classrooms are now up and running three hours a day, five days a week at four locations: Building 2004/Parc Jean-Marie Vincent – 600 children enrolled, Carradeux (the encampment near the student dormitories of the Medical School of the AFD) – 550 children enrolled, Fontamara 27 (in the southern part of Port-au-Prince) – 150 children enrolled, and Nazon – 350 children enrolled.
Classes are led by high school and college grads (monitors) recruited and trained by the AFD to lead the kids in activities—singing, dancing, artwork, discussions, sports—and to share a snack each day. We hope to add some very basic reading and writing once we have enough school supplies.
In addition to reaching out to children in the camps this project offers employment to 102 young Haitians—supporting their families in turn—at a time when the whole economy has collapsed.
A volunteer psychologist and AFD staff led trainings to prepare the monitors. We are now recruiting and training more monitors to meet the needs at these four sites. Ongoing discussion and training for all the monitors on how to support children suffering from PTSD and from the loss of loved ones in the quake is planned for the coming weeks.
To prepare for the mobile schools AFD staff worked with community members in these four refugee encampments to construct shelters to house the classes.
A huge Thank You to the Haiti Emergency Relief Fund for making this project possible!
On Monday February 1, the Aristide Foundation for Demcracy and the Bureau of International Lawyers organized a memorial to honor the victims of the earthquake at Titanyen, where the government has been burying the dead in mass graves. Several hundred people gathered to pay tribute to those lost. A mass was held, accompanied by Kolonb Dor the youth chorus of the Aristide Foundation and legendary singer Farah Juste.
Watch a video of the Memorial at Titanyen to honor the dead organized by the AFD on February 1, 2010
Since the earthquake of January 12, 2010, the Aristide Foundation for Democracy has mobilized its staff, doctors, volunteers on the ground, and supporters inside and outside Haiti to respond to this disaster. We are:
At least 4000 people are now sheltering in the dormitories on the campus of the Medical School of the Aristide Foundation–in the first two weeks after the quake getting food and water to them was a daily challenge. Tents, or other shelter, and sanitation are currently the most pressing needs.
Fielding Mobile Clinics
Since the quake a group of 54 Cuban and Haitian doctors attached to the Foundation have been providing emergency medical care to the injured. AFD is collaborating with Partners in Health/Zanmi Lasante in fielding mobile clinics to refugee camps. A total of 30 AFD doctors and 60 young AFD volunteers are participating in regular medical clinics out into some of the largest refugee camps, including at the Parc Jean Marie Vincent where approximately 15,000 people are camped out. Beginning in early March we also began weekly large scale clinics inside the auditorium of the AFD.
Organizing Mobile Schools
An estimated 90% of the schools in Port-au-Prince were destroyed in the earthquake. Tens of thousands of children are living in refugee camps and will be at least for the next several months. To offer organized activities, contact with caring adults, and some continuation of basic schooling, AFD launching a Mobile Schools project. We’ve recruited 102 high school and college graduates to serve as teachers, and coordinated with families and organizing committees in four refugee camps to build shelters where classes can be held.
Classes for over 1500 children —three hours a day, five days a week—began the week of February 22.
Open-air classrooms are now up and running three hours a day, five days a week at four locations: Building 2004/Parc Jean-Marie Vincent, Carradeux (the encampment near the student dormitories of the Medical School of the AFD), Fontamara 27, and Nazon.
As funds become available we hope to expand this project to other sites.
This project is being funded by the Haiti Emergency Relief Fund and we are very grateful for their solidarity and support.
Serving as a Bridge to the Larger Relief Effort
Finally, we are working to serve where possible as a bridge between the larger relief effort and the popular movement in Haiti. We are working with Partners in Health, CARE, and the Turkish Red Crescent, among others, trying to channel aid to the vast network of organizations, neighborhood groups and people who make up the popular movement in Haiti, to whom we remain closely bonded, and for whom the continued presence of the Aristide Foundation is a symbol of hope.
To support these projects you can donate online here:
Or mail checks to The Aristide Foundation, PO Box 490271, Key Biscayne, Florida 33149
All donations are tax deductible and will be acknowledged.