Freemasons’ donations rebuild local school and help children overcome trauma of 2010’s devastating earthquake
In January 2010 an earthquake struck Haiti, killing more than 230,000 people and causing much of the island’s infrastructure to crumble. Immediate emergency grants were made by The Freemasons’ Grand Charity to the British Red Cross and Plan International for their relief efforts.
In addition, and in response to requests from members of the Craft, the council of the Grand Charity opened a dedicated Relief Chest and £93,000 was raised thanks to the generosity of Freemasons and their families. A decision was made to use the money to rebuild a community school in Léogâne, which was at the epicentre of the earthquake, in partnership with aid organisation Save the Children. The construction of six new primary school classrooms and an Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) centre is now complete.
building for the future
New water and sanitation facilities have also been built, contributing to the health and well-being of both children and teachers. In contrast to the past, classes in the new buildings have not been interrupted due to bad weather conditions as the new structures can withstand Haiti’s heavy rains. Before the earthquake, Haiti’s education system was poorly resourced, with primary school teachers on average completing only one year of secondary education. Part of the donation has been used to train six teachers, and the community school director has also received training in leadership and supervision, to aid the effective running of the school.
Hermalie, 14, attended the school before the project started and hopes to become a nurse when she is older: ‘I feel safer in the new buildings. I now understand the lessons better and the teachers give me more explanations and encourage me to ask questions.’
New materials have also been supplied, with 500 textbooks, tables and chairs, as well as teaching kits ensuring that teachers have the equipment they need to run high-quality and inclusive primary education classes. Schoolchildren have also been provided with school kits, including notebooks, pencils, a school bag, raincoat and crayons.
The council of the Grand Charity would like to thank all those who have donated, and the local community in Léogâne has also expressed its deepest gratitude to Freemasons for their generous support.
For more information on how Gift Aid envelopes can enhance your fundraising efforts, please telephone the Relief Chest office on 020 7395 9246 or visit www.grandcharity.org/reliefchest