by Rob & Beth Crittendon, Bethany members with Haiti Education Foundation
The St André Primary School in rural Haiti is nearing completion, thanks in part to a generous donation from Bethany Presbyterian Church.
The Haiti Education Foundation (HEF) operates 35 primary schools and six high schools in the south mountains, in partnership with the Episcopal Church of Haiti. The January 2010 earth-quake destroyed or severely damaged most of these schools, and a long period of rebuilding began. Although funding declined during the Great Recession, the past few years have seen an increase in churches and friends & family groups stepping up to partner with Haiti Education Fund schools. These groups have adopted schools or classrooms, helped rebuild collapsed schools and have continued to sponsor the educators and administrators.
Bethany was among several sponsors in rebuilding the St André school in Cavanack, Haiti, which is stunningly located at the top of a mountain, which also puts it at risk to hurricane damage because of its exposure. St. André and the other new schools are designed to withstand earthquakes and class 5 hurricanes. St. André excavation began in September. The base is set, the walls are up and the steel roof is beginning to be added. Our contractor is a perfectionist and we fully expect that our new schools will have a very long life.
Major sponsors of the Haiti Education Fund school network are mostly Presbyterian (and some Episcopalian) congregations around the United States. Our most successful arrangements are direct church-to-school sponsorships, when a congregation partners with a school (or just a classroom). A relationship develops between the Haitian students and families and the church congregations. About two-thirds of our schools are sponsored in this way.
The new St. André Primary School will have eight classrooms for the nearly 100 children in the community, providing for three levels of kindergarten and grades 1-5. We hope to eventually add a kitchen and water collection system, and to provide a daily hot lunch to the students. These are expensive endeavors, but through God’s grace, donors seem to appear from nowhere and make these things happen!
Look for additional photos in the near future to see the finished school. You can check out the Haiti Education Fund website at www.haitifoundation.org.
Thank you, Bethany, for your financial support!