Jauvalda Francique is 3 years old and eager to go to school—especially since the school she’ll be going to is brand new and her parents helped build it.
The school building in Jauvalda’s home town of Léogâne in Haiti was nearly destroyed in the January 2010 earthquake. With help from ELCA Disaster Response, a new school building has risen from the rubble, designed to withstand earthquakes, floods and hurricanes. To help students feel safe within its sturdy walls, families were invited to participate in the planning meetings and were kept informed throughout the construction of their new school.
Parents were hired to help with construction. Children chose the colors. School families asked that the shutters be painted with words in Creole, French, English and even Finnish, a nod to the construction manager. Natural ventilation and plenty of light make the new school a cheerful, comfortable and safe place for children to learn.
Josette Jean Pierre, age 11, is delighted to be studying again. She says, “I’m happy to be back at school.” Her little neighbor Jauvalda can’t wait to get started herself.