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
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
You can help. There's more information here.