School out for…not much longer!

Thousands of Haitian children are going back to school thanks to the efforts of Canadian Lutheran World Relief’s partner in Haiti, Lutheran World Federation working collaboratively with Finn Church Aid. Many children had no school for months after the earthquake, and many more are only now preparing to return to classes.

Schools constructed by the LWF are making it possible for Haitian children to get back to learning. (Photo: P. Jeffrey, Act Alliance)

We received a report at LWF headquarters from Interim Country Director Craig Kippels that fifty tent schools have been provided and about fifty-five wooden schools. One hundred and ten more are needed in areas where the LWF is concentrating its efforts. Each school has two classrooms of fifty students each. The total space provided so far is for about 10,000 children and accommodation for at least that many more is in the planning stages.

Parents prefer the wooden schools because there is less danger of serious injury in case there is another disaster.

A pilot project is currently underway where a caging system using rubble will be used to construct more permanent schools. Parents, both women and men, and other community members are participating in the rebuilding as part of a “cash for work” program but also for pride of contributing to their children’s welfare.

The schools do not come cheap. Basic construction costs are $7500. Add another $1500 if you want a concrete floor. A security wall, kitchen and latrines can cost up to another $7,500. Finally, wells have to be drilled and can cost as much as $10,000 but a well also serves the surrounding community as well as the school. So, $35,000-$40,000 for a school for 100 students and many hundreds are needed in total.

We visited three refugee camps this afternoon. It was very difficult and will take some time to process properly. More on that tomorrow.

— Posted by Tom Brook

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