EDUCATION IN TIME OF PANDEMIC - Port-au-Prince, Haiti
Port-au-Prince: Pas-a-Pas at the heart of events
The following is an excerpt from “Port-au-Prince: Pas-a-Pas at the heart of events”. You’ll want to read the entire article with additional photos, which is attached to the Bridges email.
As you know, our project, Pas a Pas, came into being on February 3, 2020. We had wanted to start in September 2019, but events in Port-au-Prince -- the violence and continuous demonstrations in the streets which also caused the closure of schools and educational institutions -- didn't allow us to do so.
Finally, in February, we were able to start with great enthusiasm ... until March 20, [when] we plunged into the world-known Covid-19 crisis.
We wanted, however, to continue accompanying the 30 families who had faithfully brought their children during the previous weeks. That is why every fortnight, with a lot of help that came from abroad (THANK YOU!!), the [parents] received, in addition to a “food kit,” an “educational kit” [for their child/ren] with assignments to complete; projects to do; paper, pen and pencil, notebooks, that helped a little to maintain their educational level, but above all helped maintain hope and nurture love.
The socio-political problems affecting Haiti are unprecedented. But on November 9, the schools began the new school year, and so did we!
This year we have 86 enrolled from the first to third primary years in addition to two language groups (Spanish / English) for youth (the last years of primary and secondary) that we added as something new to the project. English and Spanish, with four days of class a week, is a reason [for our being] with them, to accompany them more closely. Different topics are shared on Fridays. We start from their interests to delve into values, into life, into formation ... The aim is to offer them a space where they can feel at home, grow in a healthy way, develop their talents, live with others respectfully and learn, starting today, that each person is special and unique, that another is different, and this is what gives life beauty. If we were all the same, diversity would not be a precious gift.
Finally, seeing so many families interested in the training that we offer, in the way we accompany the children, gives us peace and joy. It is a sign that they trust what we do, what we think is best for each one. We are aware of the difficult situation in which parents find themselves economically this year, the situation of the country, and the insecurity. These are reasons for giving thanks and this gives us a feeling of very deep joy every day. We see each child as the future of the country, [and] that is why we keep in mind the quality of a formation based on the human person in all its integrity.
The number of volunteers has also grown a lot this year. We have a group of 14 young people who help us with the children.
We thank God for giving us so many opportunities to continue believing in the most fragile in our society -- the children and young people. We entrust ourselves to your prayers.
- Sr. Middia Doute, RJM and the RJM Community in Port-au-Prince