In one of the most disadvantaged areas of Port-Au-Prince, Haiti, we support two schools, St. Emma and St. Nicolas.This way we enable over 600 children to attend school free of charge every year and offer them a second safe home. In 2010, the schools were unfortunately destroyed by the big earthquake, as were large parts of Port-au-Prince. With help of numerous donors and initiatives in 2013 we were able to build two new earthquake-proof schools and ceremoniously open them in 2015. In addition, both of the schools have a drinking water fountain since 2017/18, which is available not only to the children, but also to the local community. Only Haitians work in both schools: The project thus creates local jobs and supports the regional economy.

The schools are run by the Fondation St. Luc. The Fondation St. Luc is a Haitian non-profit organization. It was founded by young Haitians who grew up in the Haitian branch of nph Kinderhilfe. Fondation St. Luc works closely with nph Haiti, but is autonomous and independent of all partners and is the sole owner and administrator of its many programs and initiatives. For more than 20 years, the St. Luc Education Program has been providing free academic and vocational training, school supplies, uniforms, backpacks, and meals to more than 16,000 students. Most of their 33 elementary schools, like the St. Emma and St Nicolas elementary schools we support, are located in the most difficult and underserved areas of Port-au-Prince, while others have opened in the provinces.

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St. Emma and St. Nicolas each teach about 300 children from the neighboring residential areas. The children are schooled there from preschool to 6th grade. The schools are not only a place of learning, but also a place where the children can play safely and relax. The students who graduate from the St. Luc elementary schools in Port-au-Prince have the opportunity to attend the "Academy for Peace and Justice" secondary school. The Academy is financed and supported by Artists for Peace and Justice. After high school, St. Luc students, along with members of the local community, can apply to attend the Fondation St. Luc vocational school. The School of Nursing and Medical Technology and the School of Science and Technology provide training that enables students to enter the job market as skilled professionals. Courses offered include nursing, water treatment, car repair, solar energy, as well as digital media and communications.

Fondation St. Luc's mission statement:
"The St. Luke Foundation is committed to building a stronger Haiti by providing outstanding services to the country's poorest and most vulnerable, ensuring that they can use their potential to the fullest. (...) Objective: to include and empower children who have been isolated or ignored by society because of their poverty, place of residence, family situation, or physical or mental disability (...) All aspects of the St. Luke Foundation's work, both financial and operational, are carried out with full independence from church and state. We respect the opinions and beliefs of both those who seek our help and those who offer it."

Guiding principle of nph:
"Equal treatment: regardless of origin, skin color or religion, we help people in need - especially children."

Marie’s Story

The conversation with Marie was written down from memory after it took place. In accordance with our child protection policy, the child's name and picture were changed for her protection.

Marie geschichteThe first thing you notice is the noise. In a school builtout of ancient stones, you can hear the voices of the students and the teachers bouncing off the walls and echoing through the cracks. But it is precisely this permanent reverberation that makes the silence especially extraordinary at the moment when the teacher's voice falls silent and only the scratching of the pencils on the paper can be heard. 

One of these pens belongs to Marie, a happy nine year old. “Look” - she points to the French lines which she has carefully written in her notebook. She sits not even five centimeters away from her classmate, but the two work symbiotically. As they slowly copy the teacher’s italic writing from the blackboard, the two move their heads almost synchronously. 

“I love the lessons. I have to do my best to look good”, she explains, swinging her legs back and forth under the bench. She grabs her head, “Every morning my aunt checks my head and makes sure my bows sit well. I know that it is something very special to be able to attend school. Many children in my neighbourhood are not allowed or cannot go to schools and so I know that I must make the best out of it. My house is small and gets wet, dirty and flooded, especially when it rains. I always wrap my books very carefully, so that nothing happens to them.”

“We look after around 300 children here - children who often don’t have another refuge”, says the Director Joel Genalien. “We are in a very poor area - a place where government benefits very rarely get to.”
Marie’s school is situated in Wharf Jeremie, a part of the Cité Soleil in Port-au-Prince, one of the most dangerous areas of Haiti. “It can sometimes be frightening”, says Marie - her smile disappears for a moment and her eyes are pensive.

But then she nods her head slightly and her eyes show determination. “But I know the only way to make it less frightening is to come here and learn. When I come here, I find peace - even in spite of the noise. I can learn maths, French and science here without having to worry what is going on outside. For me it is more than just a school. It is my second home.”

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