REACH – Rousseau, Haiti
In a Perfect World is pleased to report on the building of the Rousseau school in Haiti, our second international school. Our partners broke ground on the school in June 2010 and the school was complete by the beginning of the Haitian school year on October 4th. Our school is now providing education that will open the door to literacy and hope for the children and adults of Rousseau!
The community of Rousseau is a small village located in southern Haiti. Most of the 1300 people who live in the community survive through subsistence farming and small remittances sent home from family members living abroad in the United States.
The climate in Rousseau is tropical, meaning mostly hot weather for the residents year round with a prolonged rainy season from August to November. Because of its proximity to Haiti’s southern coast, Rousseau is vulnerable to the devastating effects of tropical storms. Increasingly deforested mountains surround Rousseau, and access into the community by road is limited during the rainy season.
Old School Conditions
Prior to 2010, 204 children were enrolled in school in Rousseau. There weren’t any classrooms suitable for learning & some classes were held in a makeshift structure built by the community more than 5 years ago. Post earthquake, more than 20 new students have enrolled in the Rousseau school after relocating with their families from Port au Prince.
Current School Enrollment
Total number of students: 354
Percentage girls: 43%
Number of classrooms: 6
- Unskilled labor: 20 workers (10 men and 10 women) per day, six days per week
- The land on which the school was built
- High quality local materials: sand, gravel, water & rocks
- Project management: a committee made up of 12 villagers (six men, six women)
- Lodging for Field Coordinator and skilled laborers
- Basic construction tools (shovels, picks, wheelbarrows, buckets, etc.)
- Commitment to educating boys and girls equally
- Construction materials (excluding local materials) for school and latrine
- Skilled labor and plans needed to build the school
- Project management
- Instruction in basic construction techniques
- Benches and desks to furnish the new classrooms
New School Update
Construction began on the second school block in Rousseau in June of this year and was completed in October. The project stretched from its projected 12 weeks to almost 18 weeks due to heavy rains and an intense storm season, but students were able to kick off the new school year in October by attending class in their new school from the very first day. The residents of Rousseau contributed a total of 2040 volunteer-work-days to the school, or 33% more than our goal. The Project Leadership Committee, made up of 6 men and 6 women from the community, met regularly throughout the many weeks of construction and helped guide the project to its successful completion. Primary school students are now attending classes daily, and the Community Education Program for adults will begin in 2011.