Community involvement allows the return of classes to La Hatte

New roofs


Grand’Anse was the most affected department by Hurricane Matthew[1]. 188 schools were damaged, according to the departmental director for the Ministry of Education (MENFP), Ernsau Dauphin. UNICEF and its partners[2], in support of the MENFP, have rehabilitated 75 schools[3] from October 2016 to April 2017, providing them with school furniture benefiting to more than 25,000 children[4]. The partners also distributed school supplies to students to facilitate their learning. An hour and a half from the town of Jeremie, the National School of Dame Marie is a concrete example of this commitment.

At the beginning of October 2017, Hurricane Matthew deprived the 417 students at the Lahatte National School from academic activity. From the height of his sixteen years, the young Tiekelo, eyes straight and sharp, in his sixth fundamental year, remembers as if it were yesterday. “I was both sad and astonished. Families had taken refuge in the school during the hurricane, and walls had collapsed, roofs flying. No one was safe, “he remembers.

Tiekelo and his mother

An effort from the whole community

Supported by the parents, the principal of the school has taken steps to create a space for the reopening of classes. “When we were able to re-open our doors in January, there were only 265 students left. The others were sent to neighboring communities either to continue their schooling in another place or because the parents could no longer afford to feed them, “she says.

A few tarpaulins favor a timid re-opening of the national school of La Hatte. The few pupils present then face very precarious and difficult learning conditions. “It was impossible to work when it was raining. The water flowed through the tarpaulins. And when it was not raining, the sun hit so hard that from ten o’clock in the morning it was necessary to move through the rooms to seek a little shade in order to continue the lessons. “regrets the director.

Adapting learning methods

Professor in the 3rd fundamental year, Mr. Saint Fleur Jean Ramsé says he had to adjust the teaching methods to ensure an effective learning: “We had to include more entertainment in our daily work, to cheer them up. It was obvious that they were shocked at their new situation, it was the same for us, their professors. From us, Matthew had taken everything, “he adds.

The principal

Especially since it is difficult to stay focused all day to learn the empty belly. “The teacher, he speaks, he speaks, I hear nothing, because hungry belly has no ear,” says Tiekelo.

A support from UNICEF

The National School of La Hatte has benefited from a project of rehabilitation and donation of school furniture, construction of sanitary corners and water point, thanks to the financing of UNICEF.

The students of the La Hatte National School underwent their end-of-year examinations at the end of June 2017, a year saved partly according to the school principal who is relieved to have been able to reopen the doors of school. “We thank UNICEF for its support. But it is also true that without the professors’ professional conscience and the community’s commitment, none of this would have been possible, “he said.

Bettina Perono


[2] Save The Children, Plan International, La commission Episcopale de l’Education Catholique CEEC, USAID et le Département Britannique du Développement Internationale DFID




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