Salesian Missions Releases Progress Report on Haiti One Year After Earthquake

Publication Date: 
January 02, 2011

(MissionNewswire) A year after the earthquake in Haiti destroyed 85 percent of its schools and buildings in the Port-au-Prince area—killing hundreds of students—Salesian Missions has released a report on progress in Haiti to date.

While some humanitarian organizations and many people have left the country, the Salesians state they will continue working for the people of Haiti as they have since 1935. According to the report, “the Salesians are fully committed to rebuilding the educational infrastructure. Salesians have worked to educate Haiti’s most vulnerable youth and trained the best and brightest to become teachers.”

Of greatest interest is the return of an estimated 23,000 children to classes, even where there are no schools. Salesian Missions vocational students have been using the opportunity to learn a trade by building temporary classrooms so that education could continue. Students have been building desks and tailoring uniforms as part of their training as well—providing uniforms and needed furniture for the younger children.

To staff the schools, 1,200 teachers have been hired—the majority of them graduates of Salesian Missions programs.

Thirteen computer labs or cybercafés will be established to help students continue their education in their specific area of studies, and improve computer science, English, and Spanish skills.

In addition to providing an education, Salesian Missions reports that the children are also being fed daily despite the damage caused to its kitchens by the earthquake. Haitians are employed in various aspects of the programs that serve the country’s poorest youth rather than international volunteers.

Even with the enormous losses and beyond-challenging circumstances, Salesian Missions worked hard during a time of great crisis to continue to provide for the children and families that already depended on them, in addition to so many others in desperate need.

To date, 23,000 students and 1,200 teachers have returned to classes at Salesian Missions schools. Approximately $2.5 million in funds have been spent by Salesian Missions on relief efforts for the Haitian people, along with additional in-kind donations.

Since the earthquake in Haiti, 59 containers of relief supplies—including food, water, clothing, medical supplies, computers, personal hygiene supplies, water purification plants, water purification tablets, 1,600 schools in a box, 10 industrial generators, and forklifts—have been shipped, as well as two school buses and nearly 2,000 tents. To ensure the most effective use of supplies, Salesian Missions evaluates the situation at each of its sites to match needs with available resources. This was accomplished in part thanks to a partnership with Feed My Starving Children.

Salesian Missions is funding a project to staff doctors and nurses for a period of two months to provide relief to the cholera victims in eight communities.

Salesian Missions programs in Haiti focus on teaching job skills, building schools, special school projects (agriculture and computer access), feeding hungry children, health, and internally displaced persons. A full description on the work and plans in these areas is available in the full report.

ProgressInHaiti.org will be kept up to date with news of progress in Haiti.

Donations are still urgently needed for Haiti.