This past January Konbit was connected with a school in our neighborhood called Institution Mixte Scolaire de Lafferonnay. Over the next several weeks we had meetings with their Director and other administrative personnel to find out about the school, their history and the current status of things.
Like many stories we've heard, the school has suffered much of the same fate other buildings in Haiti have. Thousands of NGO's came in right after the earthquake and quite a few buildings were put up. Some solid structures that have since been abandoned, and some structures that served only as a temporary shelter and no longer exist. And then there are the few structures in the middle that have fallen into disrepair but people still live in them.
The school was built by an organization in France right after the earthquake and since then, there has been minimal assistance for the everyday operations and needs. The school is structurally sound and has a GREAT solar system set up but that is about it. We asked the administration to put together a list of needs they had for their school both big and small since this would be an ongoing partnership between them and Konbit. Once we received the list, we asked them what was the most important thing they needed right now and they said school desks. Currently, they rent benches and desks in order to accommodate the students they have enrolled in their classes. Because they rent benches and desks, they have fallen into debt on top of the debt they have in paying for their teachers.
The first week of March we had two carpenters (shoutout to Jim Mathieu and Curt Oakley) come and we set a goal of making 20 of the 80 benches the school needs to accommodate their students. We were able to purchase all the materials needed and set to work building benches over two days.
Once the benches were put together, the next phase was sanding them. We were able to hire a local person in the area who came and did that in a matter of a couple days. A few weeks later we had back to back teams from San Diego and Georgia com down. One day of both their trips was spent in the Haitian sun sweating and staining those 20 benches.
The teams made quick work of staining the benches and we are looking forward to the school being able to use those benches once they return from their Easter break from school. Thank you to everyone who played a part in getting the first round of benches done. There is still more work to be done and more opportunities for people to come serve.
Anybody willing and able to come down to build a few teachers desks and the next round of benches? If coming down physically isn't an option, anyone interested in financially funding the benches? If so, be sure to email Kris at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can read more about the school and our partnership here.
"We're better when we Konbit together."