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
Following the Haiti earthquake in January 2010, the masonic community rallied together to provide emergency funding, including an immediate £30,000 donation by the Grand Charity. A Relief Chest was opened by the Council of the Grand Charity in response to requests from within the Craft to formulate a collaborative response.
Donations to the Chest, which is now closed, totalled £93,000 and a decision has been taken to fund the rebuilding of a school, via the aid organisation Save the Children.
In Haiti, hundreds of schools remain closed, affecting approximately 500,000 children aged 5-14 years. Before the earthquake only 51% of children attended school, primary school teachers completed only one year of secondary education and, on average, children only completed four years of schooling.
Urgent support of the education system is desperately needed. Without assistance, children’s chances of obtaining a decent education – and Haiti’s ability to recover – will be seriously affected.
Save the Children has been assisting children and families in Haiti for more than three decades. Their hope is to rebuild those schools that are structurally feasible, ensuring that as many children as possible have a safe building in which to continue their education. The donation from the Relief Chest will fund the rebuilding of a community school in the city of Léogâne, which was the epicentre of the earthquake.
The donation will enable 400 children to attend school each year. It will also pay for the training of eight new teachers to ensure the children receive quality education. Work is due to begin in early 2011.
£25,000 For Cholera Aid
The Freemasons’ Grand Charity has also donated £25,000 to the British Red Cross, funding supplies to combat the cholera epidemic in Haiti. The UN has said that over 28,000 people in Haiti are now being treated for cholera symptoms and it is estimated that close to 2,000 people have already died, and the death toll is expected to rise.
Following the devastating earthquake which took place in Haiti in January, The Freemasons’ Grand Charity approved two emergency grants totalling £30,000 to the British Red Cross and Plan.
A dedicated Relief Chest was also opened by the Freemasons’ Grand Charity as a centrally administered service for both lodges and individual masons wishing to donate as part of a co-ordinated masonic response.
The 7.3-magnitude quake was Haiti's worst in two centuries. The epicentre was within 10 miles of the centre of the densely-populated capital, where around one million people live, of which more than 250,000 people are feared dead.
The British Red Cross has been awarded £20,000 to assist with their relief efforts. Red Cross volunteers in Haiti are currently assisting the injured and supporting hospitals which do not have enough capacity to deal with this emergency.
The most urgent needs at the time were search and rescue, field hospitals, emergency health, water purification, emergency shelter, logistics and telecommunications.
Plan was granted £10,000 in support of their efforts in dealing with the immediate aftermath of the disaster. Plan’s priorities were assisting children and their families and getting people into safe accommodation wherever possible, as well as working with survivors to help ease their psychological trauma.