...will resume their school year. At The School of Hope we'll be training teachers and modeling all our future village school partnerships on this model of better teaching methods.
Why Can't Chedlie Read?
The School of Hope has an interesting story. In late 2014 Director Fran Leeman, while helping a little girl named Chedlie write a letter to her sponsor, discovered that she could not read. She was in 4th Grade.
What we discovered...
As we explored Chedlie's situation, we realized there were many children in the rural schools who could not read. We'd built five schools and made it possible for about a thousand more children to go to school, but even in school many were being left behind. We identified two primary reasons for this: school overcrowding (often 50-70 children per classroom) and an outdated method of education. Even in younger grades the only way teachers teach is by lecturing to the children and having them write what they hear in notebooks. On top of this, most schools have almost no books or learning materials.
What to do?
We realized that just telling Haitian teachers and school directors that things needed to be different would not bring about real change. But, we wondered, what would happen if they could SEE a completely different kind of school, where the classroom was designed for interaction, where teachers engaged students, and where there were actually books and materials for the students? We decided to build one school we would operate (with Haitian teachers, of course).. THE SCHOOL OF HOPE.
A forgotten valley...
So we went looking for a place to build it. We wanted to avoid the larger villages and build the school in a place where it would be free of pressure to be like other schools. We looked at several areas within ten miles of our house and base on the Grande Anse River. One day we walked through a beautiful valley with lots of people, but no schools and no market. We knew when we saw it that this place, Rivye Mawo (named for the river that runs through it) would be where we'd build the new school.
Who's that girl?...
The little girl in the picture above is Obertina. She's seven, has never been to school, and is protein malnourished (as you can see by her red hair). When we build The School of Hope, Obertina will be able to go to school, and children like her will be fed and will receive protein supplements so they can begin to be healthy.
How fast can we do this?
As of May 1, 2016 we have already purchased a beautiful and large piece of land for the school right in the heart of the valley, and volunteers from the village have been digging the foundation and hauling rocks from the river to go in it. Now we just have to raise $35,000 to get the first phase built so we can open in September.
How many kids?
In Rivye Mawo discovered hundreds of children who have never been to school. The plan has been to start with two kindergarten classes and add one grade each year. But when we surveyed the community we found about 30 seven year olds who also have never been to school. The way our plan was set up, they would always be just out of reach, and would never receive an education. So we decided to start with THREE kindergarten classes.
Grow, Grow, Grow... Replicate!
We've been building schools in the Grande Anse for about eight years now. But how we do that is about to change. Once The School of Hope is established, we will continue to build schools and bring food and nutrition to children in other villages, but only if the people of that village fall in love with what we do at The School of Hope (and we're pretty sure they will!). The School of Hope will be a model for a better way to do education and will serve as a Teacher Training Center.
WILL YOU HELP US RESCUE THESE CHILDREN?
New Life for Haiti is an all-volunteer organization that does AMAZING things on a shoestring budget. You can make a direct difference in a forgotten valley full of malnourished and illiterate children. Please become a partner by donating today!