Back to School! For students starting the new school year at Mercy School and 19 other Cite Soleil schools back to school supplies include… paper? (check)… pencils? (check)… uniform? (check)…clean water? (check) and books? CHECK! The school year starts on October 3 in Haiti. The 960 students at these schools now have a combined 3,500 books to start the school year. That is 3,500 more than they had last year. These 960 students will now have the chance to learn to read. Look at the pictures below, see how excited these children are to have books? It is truly amazing.
Can you imagine not having the opportunity to read or write? Only 52% of the people aged 15-24 in Haiti are literate. We are hoping programs like our book project will help improve this number. However, children having access to books is only the first step. There needs to be someone to teach children how to read the books, not only to understand the story, but to learn the rules of the Creole language -- phonics, phonemic awareness, etc. The books need to be integrated into the classroom curriculum in Haitian schools, not just handed out.
For those reasons, in collaboration with Educa Vision, we have created a lesson plan and have delivered two days of seminars to representatives of the 20 Cite Soleil schools on how to best use these books. A school director from the Mercy School said:
"The seminar that International Action held opened my eyes to how we can improve how we teach with these books. It also gave me some new ideas for what our teachers can do with the resources we already have."
The seminar took the form of a workshop at the International Action office in Port-au-Prince on August 15 and 16, 2011. The International Action staff led the training with a review of six titles; Kote Linèt Mèmè (coming together as one), Tòti Lekòl La (respect for the environment), Jak ak Mak (respecting people), Ale (creativity and fun), Fefe ak Kikit (respect for animals as well as human beings), and Se Fèt Mako (celebrating life). Two books were covered in the first day and four books were covered on the second day. The representative will train their fellow colleagues (teachers) how to use the books. During the school year, Louko Noel of International Action and the staff from Educa Vision will hold another seminar for these 20 schools to measure their progress, answer any questions, and ensure that the teachers not present at the training received adequate training from the representatives that came to the seminar. Our director in Haiti, Dalebrun Esther, will monitor the state of the program and report back to International Action staff until this time.
None of this would have been possible without a full-team effort by our board members, our staff, our partners, teachers and parents in Haiti, and you. We thank you greatly for your help.
Warm regards and deepest thanks,
The International Action Team
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