We came to Chauffard, Haiti in 2009- one year before the earthquake.
When we arrived, this was their “school.” It held 40 students and 2 teachers in this one small building. It is hard for us as Americans to comprehend that this could be a school but it was.
Within a few months, our team in Haiti was able to build this structure and we were thrilled with it! They cleared a corn field and got to work. We had limited funds so the walls stopped when the money ran out. At this time we started our stateside nonprofit organization, CPI Haiti.
Because the climate is very rainy and the tarp was so small, our school could not really grow. The tents in the picture are where our team stayed when were there.
We then were able to purchase a larger tarp but not one with a long life expectancy….it was thin and began ripping but the Haitians continued to patch it and care for it.
This is when we were ready to take it down and put up our new tent….
Even though we felt like we were in a circus arena, the school was thrilled with a thicker, more durable tarp. They met under here for about a year.
And then we had a financial gift that allowed us to erect a REAL building!
Meanwhile, the school moved up the mountain and met in this small space for most of the school year in 2011.
As our space grew we were able to accomodate more students and needed a way to financially support more teachers, supplies, etc.so we started a sponsorship program. We came back and asked everyone we knew to invest in the future of the school.
Then the first floor building was finished and there were a lot of ecstatic teachers and students!
We hoped for classrooms but we did not have the funds at the time to continue building. By July 2012 we had raised the money to build a second story to have a library and 6 classrooms.
The students could then enjoy having their own learning space for the first time.
We even gave the rooms makeovers in November 2014!
In August 2014, we had our first ever graduation ceremony for the 12 out of 13 6th graders in our school who graduated!
Our sponsorship program has continued to grow and to date we have 150 students sponsored….but the work is not finished.
The needs are great…..
We are not able to feed our school everyday. When we cannot afford to feed them lunch, they don’t eat. The students pick up firewood on their way to school each day but sometimes we don’t have the beans and rice to make a meal. Those days they go without.
The roads are difficult and hard to travel. We spent a lot of money on renting vehicles over the first few years.
Several years ago we were able to buy a truck and ship it to Haiti. The truck is used to transport teachers, food, and groups. It is constantly needing new tires and other repairs.
We desperately need a medical clinic. People in Chauffard die from preventable diseases all the time. Here are a few who died in the past year from common, curable illnesses.
We need to increase our number of sponsors so we can provide students like Julien a secondary education. He was the #1 student in the entire region on the state exam in 6th grade but has had to drop out of school because he cannot afford secondary school in the city, which includes tuition, books, housing, and food. It is tragic for an eager, bright student not to make it past 6th grade due to finances. If we had the funding we would start a secondary school in our village so our students who graduate would not need to live away from home and pay for an education that is not feasible for most.
You can learn more about our organization at cpihaiti.org.