Joseph Causseus School destroyed by earthquake.
Haiti (MNN) ― Haiti's January quake destroyed more than 80 percent of school buildings in the capital city of Port-au-Prince.
As the country struggles to regain its footing, educational institutions are trying to provide the surviving children with a sense of stability and a return to normalcy. The new school year just got underway this week, but many of the classes are still being held in temporary structures amidst piles of rubble--a grim reminder of the disaster that turned lives upside down.
Steve Guerink with Worldwide Christian Schools says in less than a minute, families, children and 200 schools had their foundations in life ruined, but they have not given up hope. "We need to get the children and their families back into education so that the future of Haiti is a better future. To do that, we need to have a place for them to meet."
Reconstruction or new construction is held at a snail's pace because of the backlog in removing the debris. There aren't enough large-scale machines available to quickly clear away the rubble, so it will fall on the people to haul it away by hand.
Safer construction has been at the center of plans for rebuilding schools. And Geurink says this is their priority. "The time is now for Worldwide Christian Schools to come into these communities that need these schools to be rebuilt; to come alongside the leaders of these schools and say, 'We need to get the rubble removed from your school site so that we can actually build a new school for you.'"
Part of coming alongside a community is getting the unemployed back to work. "$10 a day will put a Haitian worker to work removing rubble and also working on construction of the schools. $19 a day pays for a lead foreman, and there are also things such as tools that they need."
Part of the urgency stems from long-term goals. Education is the key to freedom, especially when you consider the mission under which WWCS operates. "Our schools are Christ-centered schools. When these schools are up and operating, they're giving out the message of Jesus and His love. These children are at the feet of teachers for eight or nine months--tremendous discipleship opportunities! So if the schools are in operation, the good news off the gospel is also coming out."
After the rubble is cleared out, HANDS teams (mission teams) from North America will come in 2011 to work alongside them, adding their skills and resources to the rebuilding effort.
You can help. There's more information here.