When five- year- old Vanessa arrived at the Petite Riviere Orphanage in July 2013, she clearly had been mistreated by those who had taken care of her after the death of her parents. She was malnourished, did not mix well with the other orphans, and always seemed fearful. However, by the time she enrolled as a kindergarten student in October 2013 at Ecole Notre Dame du Perpetual Secours, she had started to adjust and to benefit physically and emotionally from being nurtured and nourished by those in charge of the orphanage.
Today, Vanessa is a healthy, active five- year-old who loves school and has many friends among both her classmates and the other orphans. In particular, she enjoys singing and dancing.
Vanessa and all the pre-school children were fortunate to benefit from implementation of the first phase of the head-start project aimed at improving the quality of early childhood education at Ecole Notre Dame du Perpetuel Secours. Donations received as of May 2014, representing 18% of the project cost, made possible the launch of the program to include targeted training for the six early childhood teachers and aide teachers as well as a variety of educational materials aimed at supporting the cognitive development, creative expression, language and literacy. But much remains to be done to ensure full implementation of the project.
The teacher-student ratio is still a very high 1: 37 -- three times the recommended ratio for pre-school classes. More and better trained teachers are key to the success of the project. Moreover, a greater selection of activities must be offered to support learning in the various developmental areas: cognitive, creative, language, physical, social and emotional. We must establish better links between teachers and parents. There is also a great need for parental education related to practices and customs which impact negatively on the survival, protection and participation of the children at home and at school. Further, problems related to the quality of the school's infrastructure and facilities (e.g. no designated place for the school canteen, no running water, no electricity) need to be addressed.
School principal sister Christiane, children, parents and teachers as well as PHC are extremely grateful to each and everyone of you who have through Global Giving made the launch of this early childhood education project possible.
We urgently need your continued support to fully implement the project and give the children a chance for productive lives. We also count on your advocacy of PHC among your friends and family.
The beginning of this school year was unlike any other for the 230 pre-K and K children at Our Lady of Perpetual Help school in Petite-Riviere de l'Artibonite in Haiti. For the first time in the history of the school resources, though quite limited, were made available to provide tailored training to the six K and pre-K teachers prior to the opening of the 2013-2014 school year. In addition, educational games, arts and crafts materials and age appropriate books, gave a richer and more varied educational experience. This new learning environment also raised expectations of children, teachers, parents and the community and energized all concerned.
Sister Christiane, Principal of the school, expressed her appreciation as follows:
"This year, thanks to GlobalGiving financing, we are able to provide books for the children and support the teachers with new supplies and educational materials. This has created a learning environment highly appreciated by teachers, parents and the larger community. We are most grateful to our donors who made possible the progress achieved so far. Much remains to be done to reach and sustain high quality early childhood education for these vulnerable Haitian children."
Please help us reach our goal of providing each K and pre-K child a challenging and inspiring learning experience. If you can please sign up for a recurring monthly gift.
On October 7, 2013 , the school year started for 230 disadvantaged boys and girls attending Our Lady of Perpetual Help School in Petite-Riviere de l' Artibonite. These children were excited to reunite with their friends and teachers and many looked forward to again having a daily hot meal.
Most of these children come from poor families and no more than 30% of the parents are able to pay the full yearly tuition of US$46. Parents are often illiterate and children undernourished or malnourished. For them, pre-school -- a relatively new development in Haiti for at risk children-- is an oasis where they have the opportunity to learn in a nurturing environment.
Five year old Vanessa Charlemagne was particularly excited to have the opportunity to go to school. The daugher of a single mother unable to care for her, she has had a hard life being shifted from friends to friends and suffered as well from malnutrition. Her situation was so dire that the orphanage which shares the campus with the school agreed to take care of her and gave her the opportunity to be one of the 230 pre-schoolers who will benefit from the Global Giving Project.
The recently launched Pre-School project promises to be a real game changer for these at risk children. Thanks to the project, they will have more and better trained teachers as well as educational resources for new activities that will promote their cognitive, emotional, physical and social skills and better prepare them for formal education.
To learn more about Head Start for 230 Pre-School Children in Haiti and pledge additional support, please visit http://www.globalgiving.org/projects/head-start-for-230-pre-school-children-in-haiti/
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