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Funds for Haiti : launching the first projects

18/03/2011: Haiti

Recent months have seen the launching of the first projects of the post-crisis period in Haiti, financed with the funds raised by the Marist Institute following the terrible earthquake which ravaged the island on12 January 2010. They involve the construction of a primary school at Merceron, near Port-au-Prince, and a project for the « Notre-Dame de la Nativité » school at Dame-Marie.

From the beginning, the FMSI has taken part in the Institute’s response to the needs of the  population  of Haiti, so sorely affected by the catastrophe. In dialogue with the General Council of the Institute and in co-ordination with the Province of « México Occidental » (on which Haiti depends), the Foundation has helped in collecting funds, contributed to the evaluation of the projects for financing and is now involved in the process of assigning the finances. In the next month or so, Angela Petenzi, co-ordinator of the projects of the FMSI, will take part in a joint mission to Haiti with Angélica Alegría Formoso, of the Pastoral Co-ordination of the Province of México Occidental. The objectives of the mission are the supervision of the projects underway and the study of initiating new projects.

Merceron is a little town 35 km from Port-au-Prince. It is one of four neighbouring localities (Hatte Drouillar, La Perrière, Merceron, Joineau) whose appearance has changed totally after the earthquake. In the zone, where 4,000 persons live, there has been no primary school since the destruction of the one at La Perrière. The Sisters of Jésus and Mary, who have promoted the  project of building the school, decided on Merceron because, as Sr Isabela Sola said, « It is where the largest number of children are; we have verified the willingness to collaborate on the part of the parents; moreover, there is more space and a football field can be made. » The project forsees the  construction of six classrooms, an office and a toilet block. Once completed, the school will take in about 240 children from Merceron and the neighbouring villages. The first construction work  began about two months ago (photo), thanks to the contribution of the Spanish NGO SED (Solidarity, Education, Development) and the Sisters of Jesus and Mary. The contribution from the Funds for Haiti of the Marist Brothers has just been approved.

The project for the secondary school of « Notre-Dame de la Nativité » at Dame-Maire was set en route by the Province of « México Occidental », which has already finished the first phase. The second will start soon. It involves the construction of new classrooms, a multi-purpose room and a computer laboratory as well as the installation of an electric generator. The initiative will be financed jointly by the Marist Brothers’ Funds for Haiti and by the Province of « México Occidental », for a total of 136,185 US dollars. This project is part of a larger plan of aid the Brothers are giving the people of Haiti who are still suffering the consequences of the devastating earthquake. In this context it is essential to contribute to the improvement of the educational structures, as the main chance of social and economic development for the young and then for the whole country. Dame-Maire is in the extreme south west of Haiti. The zone was not directly affected by the earthquake but, like the rest of the country, suffers from a general situation of poverty, under-development and scarcity of educational structures. The school « Notre-Dame de la Nativité » belongs to the diocese and is administered by the Marist Brothers.

For more information on the situation in Haiti and the Marist projects on the island, consult the report published in January by the Marist Province of « México Occidental ».

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