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April 26 in Haiti: a celebration of rebirth

altOn April 26, 2012, AVSI Haiti was joined by friends from across 3 continents to inaugurate 16 facilities: 10 schools and education centers, 5 nutritional centers, and a center for artisan workshops with a built-in restaurant.



The ceremony was a chance for representatives from all the organizations who have made the work possible to celebrate, strenghthening the relationships that are the driving force to reach out and rebuild. H.E. Geri Benoit, Ambassador for Haiti to Italy, representatives of the Haitian government from the Ministries of Social Welfare,  of Education and of Cities, staff members from UNICEF, the World Bank, the World Food Program, as well as Institute Programme Aba Grangou, AVSI staff including secretary general Alberto Piatti, Haiti country representative Fiammetta Cappellini, the auxiliary Bishop Lafontant of Port-au-Prince, and representatives from other local NGOs all joined together for the ceremony presided by the Apostolic Nuncio to Haiti Archbishop Bernardito Auza. They were serenaded by songs from various groups of students, including from Maranatha School, where the inauguration began, and those involved at Le Soleil de la Cité Educational Center (pictured left).


The outpouring of generosity from around the world after the earthquake has lead to more beautiful things than we can express, but on the occasion of the official inauguration, check out the summary of what has been rebuilt (or built anew) over since January 2010:


See more pictures on Flickr


Les Ecole (Schools)

  • Ecole Maranatha and Ecole Jardin Lavi

In Place Fierté, Cité Soleil, Port-au-Prince.

School building for 400 children consolidates two former schools.

Made possible through Mediafriends with contributions from Dwight Howard Fund.


Institut Mapou

    In Place Fierté, Cité Soleil, Port-au-Prince.

    School building for 390 children.

    Made possible by private donations through AVSI-USA, AVSI Canada,alt

    AVAID, AVSI in Brazil, Germany and friends in Puerto Rico.


    Ecole Communautaire Laurier Rose de Yolande                                  In Drouillard, Cité Soleil, Port-au-Prince.

    School building for 220 children.

    Funding through Mediafriends


    Ecole Dodo

    In Martissant 17, Port-au-Prince.

    School building for 180 children.

    Funding through Mediafriends.


    Ecole OPJED 

      In Soleil 21, Cité Soleil, Port-au-Prince.

      School building for 200 children.

      Made possible through AVAID e Resilience.


      Ecole Saint Alphonse

        Ti Haiti, Cité Soleil, Port-au-Prince.

        School building for more than 250 children.

        Made possible through AVAID e CBAU.


        Ecole Ti Haiti Cité Soleil,

          In Ti Haiti, Port-au-Prince.

          Made Possible through Italian Municipality of Lessona.


          Le Soleil de la Cite’ Educational Center

            In Croix Bleue, Cité Soleil, Port-au-Prince.

            Serves over 400 children, adolescents and their families.

            Made possible through private donations from 2010-2011 AVSI Tents campaign,

            BCC Treviglio, and Il Germoglio Association.


            Martissant Educational Center

              In Martissant, Port-au-Prince.

              Made possible by 2011-2012 Tents Campaign


              Go to school

              In 2011, UNICEF asked AVSI to support the Haitian Ministry of Education by carrying out the distribution of scholastic kits for children, teachers and schools in the most vulnerable areas in Port-au-Prince. Over 3 months, the Go to School program reached 43,860 children, 877 teachers and 241 schools in Cité Soleil, Martissant and Carrefour Feuilles neighborhoods.


              Child Protection and Psychosocial Support

              Over the course of 2011, AVSI aided from three different angles:

              • A network of Child Friendly Spaces, places designed to welcome and protect the children affected by the earthquake, welcoming around 4,000 children in 2011 for daily activities and weekly opportunities for counseling and follow-up, especially for 400 children who had undergone severe shocks or abandonment. AVSI and its 40 social workers support 9 centers: 3 in Cité Soleil and 3 in Martissant of Port-au-Prince, and 3 in the neighboring town Petit Goave;

              Child protection awareness trainings for 80 emergency workers and refresher courses for over 200 teachers led by international experts, thanks for funding from the Italian Commission for International Adoptions and the European Commission;

              • Construction of an Educational and Support Center (Le Soleil de la Cité) which became a point of reference for psychosocial support in Cité Soleil. The two-story structure contains 15 rooms, including one large hall for training sessions.


              Nutrition Centers

              Nutritional Center Fierte’

                  In Place Fierté Cité Soleil, Port-au-Prince.

                  Made possible through Trevi Group.


                    Nutrition Centers Descayettes & Baigne

                      In Martissant, Port-au-Prince.

                      Center in Descayettes can welcome 150 people; Baigne center for 250.

                      Made possible through ACRI (association of Italian banks).


                        Nutrition Center Soleil 21

                          In Cité Soleil, Port-au-Prince.

                          Welcomes over 200 children and mothers.

                          Made possible through AVSI private donors.


                            Nutrition Center Ti Haiti

                              In Ti Haiti, Cité Soleil, Port-au-Prince.

                              Serves hundreds of expecting and breastfeeding mothers.

                              Made possible through AVSI private donors.


                                Nutrition Center Parc Bobi

                                  In Cité Soleil, Port-au-Prince.

                                  Center for malnourished children and expecting mothers.

                                  Made possible through AVSI private donors.


                                  Artisan Workshops

                                  altaltMuch of the life springing up in the process of rebuilding comes unexpectedly through the joint openness of the AVSI staff and the community. The ateliers, or artisan workshops, found their home in a half-collapsed building adjacent to the tent that served as AVSI’s office. Having cleaned and restructured the building, some community members had the idea of forming a building with 6 workshops: for decorative crafts, tailoring, and even a cafeteria to serve those working and the surrounding area. Now it bustles with a rotation of craft workers, small entrepreneurs and buyers, 60 people every day who are that much closer to paying their children’s school fees themselves next year.





                                  Rebuilding of homes

                                  AVSI foundation helped to rebuild 39 houses for 222 people, over half of them children, who were left without a roof after the earthquake.


                                  Agriculture, food security and water access

                                  altThe Southern Department of Haiti did not suffer great structural damage in the earthquake, but the already-poor area has seen increased strain as it welcomes thousands of former Port-au-Prince residents in the aftermath. AVSI has continued its agricultural support and training activities, as well as water management activities in the resource-rich are of Torbeck (population around 70,000 as of a 2009 census). Through research of new techniques and improved crops, strengthening the Faculty of Agriculture at the University of Notre Dame d’Haiti (UNDH), provision of inputs and capacity building for 10,000 agriculture and livestock producers in Les Cayes, AVSI is helping local associations build the foundations to sustain the nutritional needs of the population and market products, with attention to soil rotation, reforestation and environmental impact.

                                  In the same region, AVSI’s Aquaplus project, which includes an agreement with the Haitian water management agency DINEPA and collaboration with Rotary International, is improving domestic water access by refurbishing or extending aqueducts and building wells, as well as education local associations to continue sustainable management of water resources over time.


                                  And for a witness of the most important kind of ‘building’ we see in Haiti, we look to the persons who live there! In a recent AVSI planning meeting, Phaubert Azur of AVSI Haiti said:


                                  “I joined the AVSI team in Haiti in November 2009 and I was “initiated” into the philosophy of AVSI; then, right after my “initiation,” I lived the aftermath of the earthquake. What I think gave me some courage was seeing the drive on the part of the head of AVSI in Haiti, the way she got involved in facing this situation. Her house, for instance, turned into an office, which was something totally new to us in Haiti, we wouldn’t have thought of this possible solution. This allowed me to see and understand what charity really is. During my first year with AVSI, my idea was just to find a job and improve my conditions of life a little, but after this event I realized that there is more to it. When I hear you talk about building, I think  “we have billions of dollars to rebuild Haiti, but in the end there are few initiatives that start from a concern for the person”. What we want to ask is: what are the instruments that we could employ to rebuild not only Haiti, but to help the people to rebuild themselves?”


                                  Read more:

                                  AVSI in Haiti