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ACSI Haiti

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January 2005 Report

Haiti has more students being educated in evangelical Christian schools than any other country in the world---over one million of them.  That is about 60% of Haiti’s student population.  The Christian schools in Haiti present both an astounding opportunity to be part of God’s transformation of an entire country and an important “test lab” concerning the efficacy of the Christian school movement.

A Brief Introduction to Haiti

Population:  about 8 million

Official unemployment rate:  over 60%

Government:  democratic in theory if not in practice

Religions:  voodoo---mostly prevalent in rural areas now;

evangelical Christianity is the largest organized religious group

along with Roman Catholicism

Languages:  French and Creole (a simplified form of French combined with some words from various African languages)

Economy:  the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere

Organized Crime:  involvement in shipping illicit drugs is probably the main industry. It, along with other aspects of political corruption, undoubtedly are the major influences on internal policies for the nation

Education:  

·        over 60% attend private Christian schools. Parents pay a meagre tuition.

·        15-20% attend secular or Catholic private schools

·        20-25% in government supported public schools with no tuition fees

·        estimated 77% illiteracy rate

Travel:  roads horrendous with dirt tracks in most of the country.  A 100 mile drive from the largest city, Port au Prince, to the second largest city, Cape Haitian, takes up to 12 hours, especially after rain.  Night travel anywhere is very dangerous because of bandits.

Communication:  land-line phones may work for up to 3 or 4 hours a day depending on availability of electricity.  However, e-mail is dependable.

Political Environment:  very unstable and recently quite volatile

 

Critical Needs for Haitian Christian Schools

1.      Teacher training – most Haitian Christian school teachers are only grade 8 graduates themselves and have received no teacher training. To address this in the short term Canadian and American educators pass on basic skills and procedures at semi-annual teachers’ conventions. In the long term we are developing a strategic programme of courses that will allow Haitian teachers to gain important teaching skills and earn an ACSI Haiti Teaching Certificate at the same time.

2.      Basic school supplies --most Haitian schools have serious shortages of common materials such as pencils, notebooks and chalk. Library resource books are extremely scarce – typically a school with 200 to 300 students will have a total library of 10 or 12 books for the use of all those students. Below you will see how we are helping provide these basics.

ACSI Eastern Canada Serves Haitian National Christian Schools in the Following Ways:

I.    Teacher Training Conferences

·         semi-annually we have been holding two, three or four-day teacher training conferences in:  Port au Prince, Cap-Haitien, Port de Paix, Pignon, and Limbe.

·         there is no charge for teachers to attend an ACSI teacher conferences except what the conference host charges for meals and accommodations.  Each participant receives free all the workbooks, syllabi and notes and age-appropriate classroom supplies.

II.    Translation, Printing and Distribution of Teacher Training Material

We translated and distributed Bruce H. Wilkinson’s The Seven Laws of the Learner and Teaching With Style at our teacher conferences.  ACSI provides seminar notes and certificates of participation for teachers as well.

III.    French Language Books and School Supplies

Over the past few years we have shipped several hundred boxes of French language books donated from Christian schools in Quebec and Catholic schools in Ontario and Calgary to our key contacts in Haiti for distribution along with boxes of school supplies donated by various Ontario churches. We also carry many suitcases full of classroom supplies with us each time we go on our conference trips (usually 2 or 3 times a year).  Recently a small school in the Kitchener area collected 1,000 boxes of chalk for Haitian schools.

IV.    Project Hope for Haiti  (Bags for Students)

Since November 2004, ACSI Eastern Canada member school students have been sending bags of school supplies to Haitian students. Each bag contains pencils, erasers, notebooks, rulers and other educational basics.  We also include a simple Bible study course from The Bible League entitled “Project Philip”. When the students complete that course they receive their own copy of the New Testament –a book which they will treasure.  So far 409 bags have been prepared and we are anticipating shipping another 1600 by the end of June 2005.We hope this will be an annual project.

V.    Cultural and Informational Exchange

ACSI has brought Haitian Christian school leaders to our Toronto Teachers’ Convention each year since 2001.  Last year we also brought a Dominican leader.  With Canadian Embassy cooperation we hope to bring at least two Haitian leaders to the Toronto Convention again in November 2005.

VI.    Summer 2005

We are planning to send teams of Canadian ACSI member school teachers to work with and train Haitian teachers in a variety of locations and to help out in school related orphanages. 

VII.  Emergency Relief

Member school students from across eastern Canada sent over $8000 in emergency relief aid to buy medicines, water purifiers, food and bedding for the victims of the disastrous flood in the city of Gonaive in September 2004.

FINANCES 

All funds for our work in Haiti are provided by donations from member school students, teachers and administrators, local churches, and other interested supporters.  Annually that amounts to between $20 000 and $30 000, 100% of which is used directly for the work in Haiti.  It does not pay any part of the salaries of our Canadian office staff.  All of us on staff participate in this important programme freely because we believe in it and want to help out.  We hope you will join us in these efforts.

Mark Kennedy, Regional Director

ACSI Eastern Canada

For more information about ACSI Haiti, contact

ACSI Eastern Canada Contact Information

Regional Director: acsiec@sympatico.ca  Webmaster: admin@acsiec.org

Phone:   705.728.7344   Fax:705. 728.4401

Mailing Address:  1 Wenden Crt. RR#2  Minesing, ON L0L 1Y2  Canada

A member of the Independent School Associations of Ontario

and the Canadian Council of Christian Charities