Education
 Haiti
Project #8911

Change Lives with English Education

by International Disaster Volunteers (IDV)
Elza is a teacher and a role model at EIM
Elza is a teacher and a role model at EIM

Thanks to your amazing support it’s been a great start to 2016 at the English in Mind (EIM) Institute in Haiti.

As with our last report we once again asked EIM’s International Director Steph to provide an update from Port-au-Prince. Here’s what Steph had to say:

“Back in the fall of 2015 we admitted 90 new students to our school. In years past there has been a fair amount of dropouts in the first few months as students decide if this is a commitment they really want to take on. Happily this is NOT the case this year!

Nearly all of our new students have committed to classes and are getting involved in the life of our school. We are especially impressed with our new women-only Beginners class, which has the highest attendance rate in the school!

What's more, after our first graduation this past November we also decided to create a special new class for our alumni. With the help of our newest teacher, Alison, EIM is now offering a bi-weekly class to help our grads secure meaningful employment using their new English skills. From resume writing and interview skills, to tourism trips and networking opportunities, we’re helping set our grads up for success in whatever career they choose to pursue.

Lastly, our volunteer trips are also expanding this year. Beyond the six scheduled trips usually planned, we have recently formed some exciting new partnerships to offer more types of trips in more places. For example, we’re now working with a mobile maternity clinic out west in Cayes to bring groups of volunteers in for public health / tourism trips. These trips are led by EIM guides and trip leaders, and the proceeds will benefit both the clinic and our school!

It’s a win-win and partnerships like these are creating more employment opportunities for our students, more in-country revenue for EIM, and introducing more and more people to this beautiful country.

Thanks for your support and feel free to come and visit! “

Steph also sent us some beautiful photos and background information on EIM students and staff which we wanted to share with you as well - some of these faces you might recognise from your amazing support of our microproject appeals.

Firstly Elza, pictured above, is more than a teacher at EIM, she’s a true leader. Now in her second year of teaching with EIM, Elza heads up the school's growing women-only Beginner class. In Haiti women’s education is sadly not typically as highly valued as men’s. So, EIM is trying hard to encourage its female students more by giving them their own class when they're most shy. Beyond teaching them language skills, Elza is a true role model of what a well-educated, English-speaking women looks like.

And then there’s Florence below. Florence started with EIM as a beginner back in 2011. Now, five years later, she’s in the highest level class – Advanced 2, and is aiming to graduate this summer. Beyond being a student, Florence is also training to be a volunteer trip leader with EIM to lead groups of foreign volunteers out west for a week. Doing this she’ll apply not only her English skills, but also the vital leadership skills she’s learned within the EIM community.

Pete, also below, transferred to EIM last year as a shy, intermediate student. One year later his English has bloomed and he’s also come out of his shell - Pete was also recently chosen to be a  volunteer trip leader!  We have high hopes for what this charismatic Advanced 1 student will now achieve, both in school and in life.

And finally, Ansly is a quiet leader at EIM. While his soft spoken demeanor might fool you, Ansly is a strong personality at the school – leading others both as a trip leader for foreign volunteers and as the president of the garden club which runs on EIM’s land.

Thanks so much for supporting Elza, Florence, Peterson and almost 200 more students at EIM. As always, if you ever have any questions, please don’t hesitate to email Andy@IDVolunteers.org or Steph@Englishinmind.org, both of us are always happy to provide direct updates.

Florence has learned English and leadership skills
Florence has learned English and leadership skills
Pete was shy but his natural charisma now shines
Pete was shy but his natural charisma now shines
Ansly may seem quite but he
Ansly may seem quite but he's a strong leader
We salute EIM
We salute EIM's first graduating class!

From recently buying a second plot of land, to celebrating its first ever graduating classit’s turning out to be a fantastic end to 2015 for the English In Mind (EIM) Institute in Haiti.

In our last report we introduced EIM’s International Director, Stephanie Price. We asked Steph to provide this latest update and here’s what she had to say:

“We have so much to be grateful for at EIM. Just last month we officially closed on a second piece of property, doubling the size of our land and providing a large enough foundation on which to build the school of our dreams. Although waiting to buy more land has delayed construction, we feel it was the best move to meet both our current needs and our goals for the future as well. Already, EIM students are using our existing, lush property for gardening, outdoor classes and special events. And more space is needed.

In September we also held our annual new student admission process and the turnout was unbelievable. Over 300 people poured into EIM in hopes of gaining a place in our school. After an extensive testing period, we were able to admit 90 new students, including 2 new beginner classes – one for men and one for women. We’re hoping that by separating these classes by gender, especially in the beginning, our female students will be able to better encourage one another, and hopefully stick with the program through the end. Already, we’re seeing very high attendance levels in all of our 2015-2016 classes.

Our trips also continued to thrive in 2015, as we were able to offer 8 different volunteer and tourism based trips for foreigners to work with EIM students, and enjoy this beautiful country. Over the summer, 6 EIM students were also selected and trained up to be trip leaders. This fall, they partnered with our international leaders to host their first trips and earned rave reviews from participants. We don’t know how we ever did it without them!

Finally, on November 28th, EIM celebrated our first ever graduation. 11 incredible students took the stage in front of family and friends, earning their diplomas and marking the end of our rigorous 5-year program. Hearing the speeches by teachers, students and friends alike, we were all reminded of just how far we’ve come at EIM. What started as a simple language exchange in 2010, really has become one of the top English institutes in Haiti. Wow.”

EIM really has had a fantastic 2015 and your generous support has played a big part in that. And there’s still time in the weeks ahead to make EIM’s year really end with bang!

For example, there’s match funding available for any new recurring donations set up via GlobalGiving during December. On the US GlobalGiving site your initial donation will receive a 100% match after four months (a limit of $200 applies). On the UK site the terms are the same but the matching limit is £100.

Recurring donations are particularly amazing, as they allow EIM to plan ahead more effectively. But we would obviously also be very grateful for any further one time gifts you might be able to make as the Holiday season continues.

As always, if you ever have any questions, please don’t hesitate to email Andy@IDVolunteers.org. I would be delighted to hear from you.

New trip leaders Jure and Merove at "Bassin Bleu"
New trip leaders Jure and Merove at "Bassin Bleu"
Donations made this month will go even further
Donations made this month will go even further
EIM students in class
EIM students in class

In this report I’m excited to announce some important developments about the English in Mind (EIM) Institute in Haiti.

If you’re a new supporter you may not know that EIM started simply as a group of local Haitians who wanted to improve their English. Their desire stemmed from a knowledge that, with English, they could find work in hotels, restaurants and offices.

In the summer of 2010, a member of that group, Brunel, approached us and made a simple request for us to provide native English speakers with whom they could practice their skills. We agreed and found that Brunel and his friends were meeting on rooftops, in tents, in churches, in fact wherever they could find space.

It was clear that there was a real hunger to learn English.

So, for the next 18 months, our volunteers worked to develop this informal group of aspirational Haitians into a formal school. Then, as our international volunteers left Haiti, the school was transitioned to local teaching and management staff.

Having previously selected the Cambridge English curriculum the local staff unanimously decided to call their newly independent school the English in Mind Institute, after the Cambridge textbooks. Brunel became the principal of the new school.

Over the years we’ve continued to meet EIM’s running costs with the help of amazing donors like you.

However, our former Project Manager for the school, Steph, has also worked tirelessly to support the school both financially, and to further develop EIM as its own organisation.

This July, Steph completed the registration of “Friends of EIM”, a US based 501(c)(3) organisation / charity. While establishing this new organisation Steph began fundraising directly for EIM itself. As a result our own contributions towards the school’s running costs have now decreased.

Moving forward we’ll continue to provide $300 (around £200) a month towards these running costs. We’ll also provide ongoing financial oversight by continuing to review EIM’s monthly expenditures.

However, we also want to officially recognise and salute the tireless efforts of Brunel, Steph and all the Haitian staff. Their dedication and talent have turned IDV’s original project into an amazing organisation in its own right.

In the last year alone 23 EIM students secured new employment because of their English and 2 received university scholarships.

While none of this would have been possible without Brunel and Steph, it also wouldn’t have been possible without your own generosity over the last five years. So thank you so much, and we hope you’ll continue to support the future success of EIM.

If you have any questions about these developments, or about the school in general, please don’t hesitate to email Andy@IDVolunteers.org. I would be delighted to hear from you.

Brunel is now EIM
Brunel is now EIM's principal
Steph is now EIM
Steph is now EIM's International Director
EIM Principal Brunel and Deputy Nocky on the left
EIM Principal Brunel and Deputy Nocky on the left

Summer has arrived in Haiti and things are really heating up at the English in Mind (EIM) Institute!

In our January project report we announced that EIM had purchased its own plot of land in Port-au-Prince. We’re now delighted to report that work has started with a pro-bono building design team out of Austin.

Last week the architectural design plans were presented for the first time and they’re incredible! We want to say a huge thanks to architect Jen Weaver and structural engineer Dante Angelini (and their team) for their amazing solutions. Brunel, Enock and the rest of the EIM staff gave their feedback and we’re expecting a full rendering by September.

Meanwhile, before construction begins later next year, EIM students have taken their gardening efforts further by forming a club to make the most of their beautiful new land.

Permaculture expert Taylor Beck and EIM gardening club president Ansly Pierre are now working with twelve volunteers from EIM’s student body to plant trees and vegetables, build benches and start a compost system. With four large mango trees on the property the gardening club is already seeing the fruits of its labour!

But there’s another big focus this summer too, and that’s jobs! We want the EIM Institute to be the number one place to go to hire educated, responsible English-speaking adults in Port-au-Prince.

In the past 2 months alone EIM has secured an incredible 18 new positions for its students. These students are now working as teachers, translators, and English speaking employees at clean water and renewable energy organisations.

EIM itself has also taken on eight further students as leaders for its own international volunteer trips! This deserving bunch will be undergoing intensive training through July and will be partnering with foreign volunteers to lead trips through the fall and into 2016!  If you’re interested in the idea of joining one of these trips then don’t hesitate to get in touch!

If you can’t make it to Haiti then please consider supporting EIM by making a donation instead. We always need help with running costs and building EIM its own school will be a huge financial undertaking.

We’re not put off by the challenge though and this July 15 GlobalGiving will be making things easier by matching donations to this project by an incredible 50%.

Matching will start at 9am Eastern Time (or 1pm in the UK) and donations up to $1,000 (or £600 in the UK) will be matched per donor while funds remain. So, please consider making a gift on July 15, and please also spread the word about this incredible opportunity.

If you have any questions about how we’re using your donation, or would like more information about volunteering at EIM, please don’t hesitate to email Andy@IDVolunteers.org. I would be delighted to hear from you.

EIM Gardening Club President Ansly
EIM Gardening Club President Ansly
The fruits of the gardening club
The fruits of the gardening club's labor
You
You've helped earthquake survivors like Pierre

It’s now almost May and all is well at the English in Mind (EIM) Institute in Haiti.

Unlike at many schools the EIM year follows the calendar, and runs from January to December. This means the students are just finishing the first third of the 2015 year. For the new students, or those who moved up a level in January, the first few months can be tough as they get used to learning in a new class.

However, as we approach May the students have fully settled in to their new classes and are now all progressing really well.

Although attendance fluctuates a little, the EIM Institute teaches English as a vocational skill to around 150 adults in Port-au-Prince.  With each week that passes the students are improving their English, a skill which is highly sought after in a country which has otherwise chronically high unemployment.

Take 26 year old Pierre for example. His house was destroyed in the 2010 earthquake. Although things were difficult for Pierre after the earthquake he’s worked hard at EIM to improve his English and, through English, to improve his life.

Pierre had this to say about EIM.

“EIM gives the community access to learn English.  With the donors help I am able to learn English, and teach it.  Without EIM I would not be a teacher at Secondary [School] today”

But there’s more to EIM than just it’s “bread and butter” of teaching English.

In our last project report we announced that EIM had just purchased its own land. While construction of a building on this land is still in planning, this doesn’t mean the land has been sitting idle.

Instead the students have planted a vegetable garden and EIM has made arrangements to sell its produce to nearby organisations as a way to meet some of the school’s running costs.

The school’s leaders are also keen to expand their new property so that they can eventually start offering wider vocational training to complement the English skills the students are gaining.

All in all, we’re delighted that EIM continues to go from strength to strength.

It’s only because of your support over the years that we’ve been able to develop EIM from a small group of earthquake survivors who wanted to learn English, into a formal school managed by local leaders. Thanks so much!

As always, if you ever have any queries about how we’re using your donation, please don’t hesitate to email Andy@IDVolunteers.org. I would be delighted to hear from you.

 

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Organization Information

International Disaster Volunteers (IDV)

Location: Bristol, Somerset - United Kingdom
Website: http:/​/​www.idvolunteers.org
Project Leader:
Andy Chaggar
Bristol, Somerset United Kingdom

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