A team of seven, came together to join Camara Haiti in Port- au- Prince to see how we could support them and also experience first hand the success that the Education hub is having in transforming education and improving the quality of life for disadvantaged communities.
First on our agenda were visits to two orphanage-schools run by Gladys Thomas. One school had cleared and prepared the space for their eLearning centre in just 8 days, allowing for a remarkably quick installation.
The centre is used to do homework, improve typing and presentation skills, and learn maths. We also visited the Digicel Warehouse, where many of our refurbished computers are being stored.
The first day ended with a visit to the Sacre Coeur orphanage- school, where the children were eager to demonstrate their typing skills.
In 2013, Camara set up Technology Centers with 12 women’s groups throughout Haiti. The following morning we visited one of those Centers – CHREPROF, Centre Haitien de recherches pour le promotion feminine – a local training organization for adolescent girls run by a wonderful lady called Marie Carmelle Lafontant. This project, which is sponsored by the Digicel Foundation and Haven, gives women digital literacy skills that will make it easier for them to enter the growing hospitality industry in Port-au-Prince. We then visited another Digicel sponsored Women’s Technology Center at the YWCA in Port-au-Prince where we saw young girls from the local community participate in an after-school homework club.
On Thursday we visited two projects outside of the city. On our way to the countryside we passed through the clean streets of Petition-ville as well as the impoverished streets of Port-au-Prince where the destruction of the earthquake is still clearly visible. We arrived at Hope House, a school and orphanage providing free education for about 300 of the most vulnerable children in the community and developing vocational opportunities through the establishment of social enterprises. The school was founded by the energetic and cheerful Yvrose Ismael and her husband Pierre Richard.
The computers provide “a window of hope for students to improve their lives”, according to Yvrose.
Hope House has an eLearning centre, which was installed by Camara in partnership with Haven Haiti. The computer lab has only been up and running for about six weeks, but two teachers have already been trained.
The centre is used not only by children at the school, but also by members of the wider community. In the computer lab, students learn computer basics and older students will move on to more advanced skills such as typing documents, creating spreadsheet, and using presentation software. Next, we visited l’Institution Mixte Les Papillons Légers de Ganthier, a newly built school serving 445 students built by the Digicel Foundation in Ganthier, a city of 400,000 just to the west of Port-au-Prince.
The Digicel Foundation has already constructed 107 schools across Haiti, in a commitment to help rebuild the country’s educational infrastructure. They began the construction of schools early in 2013 and are on track to complete a total of 150 schools in the next six months. We were inspired on our visit to see the great positive impact that Camara is having in Haiti and we are looking forward to installing more eLearning centres with our partners in the new year.
Find out how to donate a computer to help projects like this.