Cornerstone Grant 2019

Electrification of Haitian School School Provides Environment to Succeed

In 2019, the CFEBA partnered with Educate Haiti, Inc., a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, to help educate more than 400 students in Durissy, Haiti. Haiti is the most impoverished country in the western hemisphere, and has suffered various natural disasters in recent years. Educate Haiti’s mission is to assist Haitians in the development of schools, including buildings, equipment, teachers and educational leaders, so that all Haitian children and adolescents may have the opportunity for a quality education–this is the key to their empowerment enabling them to pursue their dreams and improve their country.

In Durissy, the average family income is $100/year. and most can only afford one meal a day. There is no electricity. Water for bathing and cooking must be carried from at least a half a mile away. Three women cook enough for 400+ students 5 days a week at the school, over a charcoal fire in a three sided shed, rain or shine, because children cannot learn when they are hungry.

Due to a lack of energy infrastructure, school days in Durissy often end in the early, when their unlit and uncooled classrooms become too hot to safely hold classes. This project will address this need by providing a low-cost, low-maintenance, and renewable source of electricity that will facilitate installation of lights and fans in Durissy’s high school, elementary school, and pre-school. This infrastructure will also allow for future use of computers and other electronic devices that have become classroom staples in the United States.

CFEBA is excited to help the charitable work that Educate Haiti is performing. May 2019 marked the first graduating class! The area is mainly involved in subsistence farming, with some of the population considering themselves "vendors." This means they take what excess produce they have, place it on a blanket, and attempt to sell it in the nearest town, so they can buy rice and beans. The efforts of educating these students will provide employment opportunity for them and provide a higher standard of living.

School buildings are also used for village meetings and shelter during hurricanes. Currently, 427 students are enrolled in the schools, and it is estimated there are an additional 700 citizens in the two mile area surrounding the schools.

The solar system provided lights and fans, which will allow the school day to be extended and enable students to take additional classes mandated for graduation.