The 4,000-square-foot, single story La Renaissance Elementary School stands prominently on a hillside in the village of Au Cenre, Haiti, surrounded by trees and green fields. It is the only large-scale construction project in the history of the village, and it was built by the villagers themselves, with funds from Haiti Community Support.
Ten years ago, it was just a bean field. The closest school was four miles away, over a rugged mountain path, and most families could not afford the tuition. In 2004, Haiti Community Support held a fundraiser to pay the tuition for some of the village children. The village elders asked to use these funds for what Au Centre really needed – a school of their own.
In September 2005, HCS opened the first elementary school in the village, in a small concrete structure. But even bigger plans were in the wind. HCS purchased a 10-acre plot on a hillside and began designs for a school that would accommodate over 200 students. Construction began in July 2007, and at one point employed more than 120 villagers.
In September, 2008, the school opened. It has eight classrooms, seven for the children and one offering adult classes. The school also had something Au Centre had never had before – electricity, provided by solar panels. HCS hired six teachers, a principal and two cooks.
Today, each morning, parents wake before dawn, wash their children from a bucket of scarce water, get them into a uniform and send them down the red clay pathways.
Teachers find a way to dress as neat and crisp as any “city teacher” could manage. Roll is called, the national anthem is sung, food is cooked, the curriculum is followed, grades are given – and hundreds of people have hope and pride in their hearts.
Donations from Haiti Community Support keep the school open, pay the salaries, provide lunches, school supplies, and medical checks for the children.
The people of Haiti want education for their children, but it is a fight to provide it. Education is considered a luxury. But here in the remote mountains of Haiti, children get a chance to change their lives through the miracle of an education.
In this most unlikely of places, thanks to Haiti Community Support, grow the life-giving seeds for Haiti’s future.