A recent Education trip to Haiti proved very productive for our travelers. Volunteers visited schools, met with students, teachers, the superintendent and other Haitian officials to discuss the continuing development of educational practices and infrastructure. Below is an excerpt about the trip from a veteran volunteer, Julie:
“On Monday our work began. The road to Bainet took us over a river and down a mountain to the schools that we would observe. This trip was important; we would be meeting with representatives of several schools and the superintendent to present our plans for building a common sports complex in the town. We left feeling hopeful since the superintendent was very supportive.
Tuesday, we visited with the kids of Unifiee. My heart was happy when a number of kids took my hands, climbed on my lap and called me by name. They had remembered me from previous trips. Their laughter and smiles were priceless. One of the other volunteers, Sarah, has a great love of photography and with her usual enthusiasm she decided to photograph all those smiling faces–literally all of them! Over the next three days she took a photo of every child and every staff member. These photos will be used to make a poster of the school. Sarah also got some great shots of the “Philo”—the senior class—to give to them as a graduation gift. Their graduation is wonderful thing that needs to be celebrate and these photos will help them remember that very special day.
Pedro, the librarian, gave me an overview of the library we started last November. He has diligently catalogued all the books into the database despite the limitation caused by the unreliable electricity. Teachers check out books whenever they want using a pencil and paper checkout system and periodically bring their classes to the library. When they do, the classes will read a book and write a summary of what they have read. It’s important for the classes to be doing this as often as possible, so I asked Pedro to come up with a schedule that gets each class into the library on a weekly basis.
Wednesday we spent our time with the students from Pre-K through 3rd grade. They sang songs and recited for us. Because of donations, we were able to give a doll to each girl, while I gave other small toys to the boys. It was touching to watch the girls’ faces light up when they received their dolls. Later, we traveled to our sister school and were able to give toys to their students as well.
After visiting our sister school we celebrated with the teachers on Unifiee’s victories and accomplishments. We had gift bags for each teacher and staff member. We also recognized seven staff members for their excellence in serving the students of Unifiee. These staff members received Nextbook tablets to use in their teachings. The celebration ended with a delicious lunch that we served to the teachers that Vierge, our amazing hostess, had prepared.
Thursday, we continued workshops with the teachers. I was able to present ways to identify struggling students and interceptive measures they can use in the classroom. With my background in special education, I was able to advise the staff and begin a project for students who have exceptional needs. A few struggling students were chosen for interventions. Data was gathered and suggestions were made to the teacher. I will send materials for them in December and I am looking forward to continuing to follow these students throughout the year(s).”
Relationships and collaborations continue to grow and evolve in the form of educational workshops, special needs education, the aforementioned common athletics complex concept and much more. It is a very exciting time…stay tuned and please make a visit yourselves!