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!