Anse-à-Pitres is a community of more than 15,000 people on the southern shore of Haiti. After the January 2010 earthquake, about 5,000 more people moved into the area.
Local schools in Anse-à-Pitres are bursting. To accommodate the additional students the Our Lady of Lourdes Parish School moved some classrooms outdoors under ragged tarps, where students learn at desks sitting on dirt and mud.
"We have 250 students in the current school," said Fr. Andre Helvetius Affricot of Our Lady of Lourdes Primary School. The main building for the school is now an old church, located just a couple of hundred yards for the sea. While beautiful in April, the sea can quickly turn deadly during hurricane season.
"During a storm in May 2004, the town was under water. During hurricanes, the ocean rises and it floods here. The new school location is much safer, it's higher and farther from the sea, and can be used as an emergency shelter during a hurricane," said Fr. Andre.
Jesuit Refugee Service is providing 600 desks to a modern new school being built in the town. Additionally, a JRS scholarship program will provide $100 directly to the school for each displaced child enrolled, and also about $150 directly to students for shoes, uniforms and school supplies so the child is able to attend school. (Learn more about JRS in Haiti here.)
"We invest in education because an educated person is beneficial to society. My goal is to have an education center with primary, secondary and technical schools," said Fr. Andre.
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