Good News To Start The New Year!/Bon Nouvèl Kòmanse Yon Ane Nouvo!
Around this time last year, five members of the St. Gabriel Haiti Ministry visited our sister parish, St. Anne in Sucrerie Henri, Haiti. As well as being a pastoral visit to maintain our twinning relationship, we went to see how our monetary support is being used throughout the parish. We reported on our findings on the trip later in the spring. Based on our interviews with Father Didier and the parish council, and what we had seen for ourselves, we set some goals for future monetary support.
One of the goals was to finish rebuilding Bellevue chapel, which is high up on a mountain. Due to the difficulty of bringing construction supplies up the mountain construction had lagged. Our delegation’s visit to the chapel site last January seemed to provide inspiration, because as of November, the Bellevue chapel building has been completed. The interior and embellishments are all that’s left to finish. Here are a few photos:
The next chapel to be rebuilt is Terre Neuve, which you may remember is directed by the first female chapel director at St. Anne Parish. We are not sure when that work is scheduled, but we will keep you posted. Meanwhile, we have wonderful news about the chapel schools!
In our report to St. Gabriel last spring we stated –
Eventually, we would like to see the schools reopened at all of the chapels. To start, we would like to add two elementary classrooms at one chapel plus cover the teachers’ salaries. The costs are estimated at an initial one-time $1000 for classroom furniture, $500 per year thereafter for school materials, plus $1000 annually for teacher salaries.
With your generosity, frequent communication with Father Didier, and his dedication to providing an education for St. Anne’s children, we were able to reopen three chapel schools – Corail, Mercier, and Loufranc, and by doing so, we have put 156 children in school who were not in school last year! Here is the breakdown:
Needless to say, we are thrilled about this. We were able to accomplish this with an $8000 directed project funding. Typical tuition for Haitian students is approximately $130 per year including uniforms. We are able to provide an education for 156 students for just $8000, which would normally cost $20,280. Each student receives a uniform, a backpack, a pencil, an eraser, and a copybook. Each of the teaching chapel directors is being paid $785 for the school year. To see more about the school at St. Anne, visit this post, which was published right after last year’s visit: https://monalisaliveshere.me/2018/02/06/the-weight-of-his-hand-on-my-shoulder-st-gabriel-trip-to-haiti-2018-two-five/
Here is a photo of Father Didier with the children at Notre Dame de la Merci at Chapel Mercier:
Children at Sainte Catherine at Chapel Corail:
And students at Saint Antione de la Padoue at Chapel Loufranc:
The Haitian Ministry Committee is happy to report this wonderful news at the start of the new year! Happy New Year! Bonn Ane!
About education in Haiti: Illiteracy is a major problem in Haiti. According to the UN Development Fund, approximately one-half of all Haitians age 15 and older is illiterate. The quality of education is generally low, and 85 percent of schools are run by private entities that charge school fees that can be prohibitively expensive for low income families. More than 500,000 children and youth remain out of primary and secondary school. – World Report 2018, Human Rights Watch: https://www.hrw.org/world-report/2018/country-chapters/haiti