In one of the poorest 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. 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 had a drinking fountain since 2017/18, which is available not only to the children but also to the community.

In nph Kinderhilfe Lateinamerika e.V (nph Children’s Aid Latin America) we have a reliable partner on our side. The organisation is more than 25 years active on the site and supports the school operations in cooperation with the local population. Only Haitians work in both schools meaning that the project creates local jobs and supports the regional economy.

Marie’s Story

Marie geschichteThe first thing you notice is the noise. In a school built by 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 are rarely received. Our children live in deep poverty. Many come here hungry.”

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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