Defying all expectations, Haiti seems to have been spared from the worst of the coronavirus so far, with infection numbers and death rates far below predictions, even when considering inaccurate reporting (health experts are still investigating why). But the economy, already in an inflation spiral from social and political unrest, is suffering heavily. Much like the earthquake in 2010, the pandemic could set back Haiti’s economic development for decades. The economic downturn has already impacted the Lamanjay food program, resulting in larger lines of families coming to receive emergency food assistance.
This is a critical moment for the children and families of Ti Plas Kazo.
Every donation makes a difference.
Na Rive was quick to realize the impact the pandemic would have on the developmental path for Father Jeri School students, and made it a priority to ensure the children got the support they needed all through the summer. Initially, distance learning was provided via SMS cell phone texting, but as any parent will tell you, it’s a challenge, and much more so with spotty electricity and internet access, and a lack of connected devices.
So Na Rive took all the proper precautions to prepare the school for reopening: hand washing stations, temperature checks, ensuring safe distance and proper ventilation. Doors reopened in August, and all is going well. Teachers have even taken to serving the students their lunch in the classrooms, where the well-spaced desks help assure distancing that a crowded cafeteria could not. Students are not only catching up with the schoolwork that should have been covered while sheltering in place, but preparing for government exams and graduation to new grade levels.
Program Director Lavarice Gaudin knows that, even during a pandemic, the school is often the safest place for children to be. It’s the place where they can receive a nutritious meal during a time of widespread food insecurity. The place where they are looked after while their families are looking to make ends meet amidst growing violence and economic upheaval. And above all, it’s the place where they build the knowledge and confidence to keep moving ahead in spite of the challenges they may face.
The biggest and best hope for these children — to weather this crisis and whatever may come next — is the Father Jeri School and all the hope that’s held within its walls. For these children in desperate poverty, education is the difference between lifelong opportunity and hardship. So this year’s welcome back to school is more critical than ever. It’s a hard-won miracle.
We are grateful for the never-ending resourcefulness and determination of Na Rive, who work so tirelessly for the children and families of Ti Plas Kazo. And we are forever grateful to you, for making these efforts possible. Your gifts change lives, and support the path to a brighter future for Haiti.
Yours in gratitude and in service,
What If Foundation