The Story of the New School

BlogThe Story of the New School
Background

The new school project is one of Haiti Health Initiative’s many humanitarian efforts. In progress since 2015, the project aims to bring a much-needed new facility to the Girls and Boys School of Perfection of Viciere [translated] in the remote, mountainous village of Timo (or Nan Falez, which means “at the bottom of the cliffs”).

With adequate funding, the new facility could be up and running as early as September 2020.

Bryant and Karen Jolley of Fresno, CA were inspired by the outpouring of support by so many donors during the match to fund the school’s building A. Their desire is that the children of Timo can attend a school that will provide a safe and healthy environment for learning. They have stepped forward with the unbelievable offer to fund the cost of the school’s Building B. In honor of this gift, the school will be named, “La Jolie Ecole Communautaire de Viciere” which translates to The Beautiful Community School of Viciere.

Timo community leaders and school leaders have expressed profound gratitude for your gift, which literally transforms the lives of children in Timo for many generations to come.

Haiti Health Initiative Nan Falez Location Slide - The Story of The New School

Slide courtesy of ARUP

 The current school was founded in October 2010 by Timo native and resident Mr. Vernet Jean Gilles to serve the greater community of Timo. Gilles says [translated],

“The thing that makes me the most proud is this: children in this area would otherwise have had to leave the community to go to school, either in Fond d’Oies, Léogâne, or Tombe-Gâteau. However, they are able to obtain their education here in the community, and that is what makes me the most proud of our school—we are able to provide the children with an education.”

This community currently includes 227 attending students, 12 teachers, and Gilles himself as principle and lead administrator. The school is housed primarily in a 20 x 20 ft. Baptist church facility (when the building is not in use by the church) in addition to four small satellite shacks. About 100 students meet in the church facility and the other 127 are distributed between the satellites. There are no restrooms or separate classrooms in these buildings. There is no electricity or air conditioning or canteen. The buildings are not habitable in hot weather, and the children are often sent home early on excessively hot days. Even under moderate weather conditions, the children have a difficult time learning in the crowded, noisy conditions.

There is a lack of separation between classrooms in the current facilities

There is a lack of separation between classrooms in the current facilities.

 

The children and teachers share a cramped space

The children and teachers share a cramped space.

 

The outside of the Baptist church facility/current main school building.

In October 2014 Gilles reached out to HHI and asked for assistance to build a new facility. In April 2015 IMPV provided a simple plan for a school that would meet their needs.

The following is an interview with Mr. Gilles in February 2015:

 

Partnership with ARUP

In October 2015 Haiti Health Initiative invited ARUP—a global firm of independent designers, architects, and engineers—to join the project. Since then, HHI and its local Haitian partners have worked with ARUP to find a suitable plot of land for the new school building, and ARUP and HHI have worked together to design the school building itself, which includes several important innovations, as well as an external latrine facility and a retaining wall. As of October 28, 2016, ARUP and HHI have entered into a legal partnership for the duration of the project.

ARUP has provided the following images to help illustrate the design process:

A glimpse of the considerations behind the building placement on the IMPV plot.

 

Several of the innovations to be included in the new facility.

 

The school will consist of 2 two-story blocks and an independently standing water closet facility, all enclosed by a retaining wall.

An approximation of the layout of the ground (first) floor of the new facility. The retaining wall is also included in this rendering.

 

An approximation of the layout of the first (second) floor of the new facility. The retaining wall is included in this rendering as well.

 

Specifics of the classroom designs can be viewed below.

The next few images are illustrative renderings of the outside of the facility.

And a sketch of the design proposal.

ARUP has presented several creative material design ideas for potential use on the outside of the facility.

This diagram shows where each of the design ideas presented above would appear in the new facility.

The cost of the school is broken down in the graphic below (courtesy of ARUP):

 

ARUP has given HHI the following information regarding the expected timeline of the project:

“We hope that groundwork can start before the end of the summer. The design information should be ready by November. Hopefully construction of the school will be completed by September 2020.”

All that remains is raising the required funds.

The next few images are illustrative renderings of the Latrine Block.

 

Community Impact

HHI committee member and nurse practitioner Rebecca Rampton commented on the impact of the school on the community of Timo at the 2015 gala.  Open the link below to hear her remarks.

Rebecca Rampton’s 2015 Gala Speech

Founder Marc-Aurel Martial said the following about HHI’s intended impact on the Timo community: “Our goal is to do sustainable good.”

HHI aligns itself with the United Nations’ goals for sustainable development. Quality education; decent work and economic growth; industry, innovation, and infrastructure; gender equality; no poverty; reduced inequality are all goals that will be positively impacted by the completion of the school project, which will make education more accessible to an entire community, including multiple remote villages.

Martial also maintains that, “The more organized we are, the more good we can do for more people in a short period of time.”

 

Giving the children of Timo a new, organized building where they can focus, learn, and make the most of the time they spend at school each day will increase the amount of knowledge and education they receive in a shorter amount of time. School founder and administrator Vernet Jean Gilles expresses the opinion that, “There will no longer be chaotic, noisy conditions, and the children will feel more comfortable and will learn better.”

It is HHI’s goal that each person will obtain at least a primary level education, which will give them greater ability to sustain themselves and their entire community. As things currently stand, adult Timo residents have had an average of only 3.5 years of education.

Martial continues that, “Education can be seen as a social opportunity and as literacy which can be a barrier or an asset to health education and health literacy.” Supporting education in Timo is also supporting the public health and well-being of the larger community. Gilles expresses this same sentiment when he says, “My main goal for the school is to serve the community and to train the children so that they can become responsible citizens to replace the older generation one day. I want to not only serve the community but also the whole country.”

Why Should You Consider Donating to the IMPV School?

Founder Marc-Aurel Martial believes that there are several reasons why building this new school facility is a sustainable investment, which sustainability makes it a cause people should consider funding.

  • First, there is a strong connection between education, health, and economics. Evidence shows that people who have more education tend to have more economic opportunities and healthier lifestyles. According to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP),

“Access to quality education remains key to Haiti’s social and economic development…These statistics show that a generation of Haitian youth is at risk for not having the necessary knowledge and basic skills to succeed in the labor force and contribute to the continued development of the country.”

  • Second, the school was founded by a native and resident of Timo at the request of community members and leaders. It has been serving the residents of Timo since 2010.
  • Third, Haiti Health Initiative and its sister Haitian organization Inisyativ Sante Peyizan (ISAP) are built on sustainable principles of adding to the good already in place instead of unnecessarily creating new good from the bottom up. Our partnership with the community of Timo to build the school is consistent with our vision and approach to allow people to keep the good that they have and add to it.

Please consider helping HHI bring the necessity of education to more than 200 children living in and around Timo. Education is at the core of HHI’s vision of progress for Timo.

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Haiti Health Initiative aims to improve the overall health and well being of rural Haitians, one community at a time. We seek to accomplish this through providing education and services in primary health care, dental care, public health, and nutrition within each community at risk.

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