In Haiti, youth are the long-term promise for rebuilding their country. They are eager to become nurses, teachers and construction workers, as well as to develop the skills needed to be the country’s new leaders.
Salesian Missions helps fund the following program types in Haiti (and countries around the globe):
- Teaching Job Skills
- Building Schools
- Special School Projects
- Feeding Hungry Children
- Internally Displaced Persons
Teaching Job Skills
Salesian Missions’ unique approach of teaching job skills allows youth to directly contribute to the rebuilding of their country:
- Older youth in trade schools are using their carpentry skills by making desks for classrooms.
- Students in Salesian tailoring programs are making school uniforms for other children.
- Salesian Missions alumni have been hired to contribute to the reconstruction process.
For long-term efforts, students are studying specific trades—including: agriculture, nursing, woodworking, mechanics and masonry, as well as learning skills in electricity, air conditioning and welding.
Before the quake, Salesian Missions provided vocational training to students in a wide range of occupations. Hundreds of these students lost their lives in the earthquake—the majority of them young women studying to become teachers. Today the provisional buildings include structures for workshop classes and technical teacher classes.
Special School Project: Agricultural School
- In Cap-Haitien, plans for the refurbishment of the agricultural facilities are in progress.
- Students learn advance farming methodology to improve crop quantity and quality.
- At the agriculture school, 145 students—of which 34 are women— will increase their opportunities to obtain meaningful skills to support their families, and to provide their communities and country with quality food sources.
- The three-year program focuses on students from families with limited economic resources.
Special School Project: Salesian University Network
- The Salesian University Network will help university students who have been unable to return to school.
- Thirteen computer labs or cybercafés will be established to help students continue their education in specific areas of study, and improve computer science, English, and Spanish skills.
- The network will also provide an important means for students to connect with other students, form friendships and resume educational activities.
- The computers have been shipped to the following thirteen locations and are in the process of being installed: Fort Liberté, Ouanaminthe, Cap-Haitien, Gonaives, Hinche, Jacmel, Cayes, Fleuriot, Petionville, Cite Militaire, Cité Soleil, Thorland, Gressier.
- Students and teachers of the “Little Schools” have installed prefabricated buildings for themselves and other students.
- New nursing and agriculture school projects are moving forward.
- Construction continues for primary schools and high schools.
Feeding Hungry Children
In Haiti, feeding hungry children is often the first step in providing an education. Children who initially come to be fed become engaged in school activities. They are also prepared to learn. At Salesian Mission schools in Haiti, feeding programs are in operation and supporting efforts to rebuild the community. Thousands of students receive daily breakfast of a cup of milk and bread. A new kitchen is under construction and will soon provide food for the children from the schools in Cité Soleil and La Saline, the poorest districts in the area.
In Haiti, early relief efforts focused on preventing an outbreak of disease.
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 the following communities:
- 1 Doctor for the Département de l’Ouest based in Port-au-Prince
- 1 Doctor for the Département de l’Artibonite, Département du Nord and Département du Nord’Est based in Cap-Haitien
- 1 Nurse for the Département de l’Artibonite based in Gonaives
- 2 Nurses for the Département du Nord based in Cap-Haitien
- 1 Nurse for the Département du Nord’Est based in Fort-Liberté
- 1 Nurse for the Département du Pétion Ville
- 1 Nurse for the ENAM work in Lakay
- 1 Nurse for the work in Les Cayes (Bergeaud)
Today, Salesian Missions is committed to preventing the spread of cholera. Salesians and volunteers have distributed water purification tablets for treating water. Children who take part in feeding programs are learning personal hygiene. The message of preventive measures is also being spread through repeated explanations of the importance of hygiene via broadcasts on Radio Soleil, the radio station of the Catholic church in Haiti.
Efforts are also focused on the long-term health of Haiti’s people. The School of Nursing, a Salesian Missions training facility, is one of the few schools for nurses remaining in the country.
Internally Displaced Persons
In Haiti, thousands of internally displaced persons found accommodations through Salesian Missions when they were left homeless by the earthquake. They received care from basic necessities to social services, including shelter, food and cultural, recreational and spiritual activities.