Haiti (MNN) — Makeshift schools are popping up all over the
ruins of Port-au-Prince. Along with the government infrastructure, it
will take a long time to rebuild Haiti's education structure.
A report from the Ministry of Education says schools in
Port-au-Prince and other areas affected by the earthquake are unlikely to open again until March, at the earliest.
The quake either flattened or severely damaged almost
80-percent of the educational facilities in the capital city. In
outlying areas, primary and secondary schools finally opened their doors to
Steve Geurink with
Worldwide Christian Schools says they're
partnering with CRECHE, a network of Christian groups with 231 schools in
Haiti. "Over 200 schools were
either damaged or destroyed in this earthquake, resulting in about
60,000 children not able to go to school and 1500-2000
teachers not able to teach."
CRECHE team members began the search for a temporary
solution. The shortage of aid supplies
stymied their efforts. Geurink explains:
"One of the goals of CRECHE was to find tents big enough to have the children
be able to be in school out of the hot sun and the elements, but they've been
unable to find tents."
Their inability to get tents for the schools magnifies the
need: if students are not in school, they
run the risk of getting involved in gangs, or finding adults who might exploit
Getting schools up and running is critical for recovery on many levels. Geurink says, "Christian schools can best answer the
questions for those children, so I think it not only is necessary to get
children back into schools for a normal lifestyle for them, but it is the best
method for the children even to be able to cope."
The "Five Gallon Challenge" is simple: find a five-gallon bucket, fill it with
donations, and give that donation through WWCS as part of this massive rebuilding
project. Geurink explains, "This
will be a yearlong campaign which would then result in us eventually sending
our volunteer work teams to Haiti. We
plan to be rebuilding in Haiti."
Geurink is hoping the initial phase brings in between $50-$80,000.
To put it in perspective, it will cost $3,000 just to clear away the debris at a school,
multiplied by 200. That's before the
actual rebuilding starts. Geurink says
they will be purchasing construction materials and sending in rebuilding teams
as soon as it is safe to do so.