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Published on 05 December, 2011

Paradis School grows faster than its walls can

Haiti (MNN) — When you went to school, it was probably in a building, right? Even if it was small, it most likely at least had a roof, floors, windows, doors.

After the massive earthquake that hit Haiti in early 2010, the kids who even continued in school had to meet in tents. Schools had crumbled to the ground, and those that continued to operate had very few options–and certainly no walls.

Worldwide Christian Schools came into contact with just such a school shortly after the quake. "It's a school that we thought had great potential, and had good leadership near the epicenter of the famous Haiti earthquake," explains Steve Geurink.

The Paradis School needed a new building for its 169 students. WWCS found them a plot of land and agreed to help the school rebuild. To date, the school has the first of two buildings partially complete.

An interesting phenomenon happened post-quake, though: the school grew–and quickly.

"Now that we have part of the school completed–we have one building that they're now using, there are over 300 students at the school," says Geurink. "I think the potential is even greater as we work on the second phase of the construction."

The school has 300 students but only one partially finished building. The volume of students forced the school out of its temporary tent set-up even though the building has not been completed.

"The building has a roof on it, it has a floor, it has walls, and it is a tremendous blessing to the community to have the building that far," notes Geurink. "They insisted on using it because they had so many students and literally needed to use the new classrooms."

The school is growing quicker than WWCS' hired national workers can build, and quicker than funding can come in. Even though windows, doors, and other necessities have yet to be installed, WWCS is beginning construction on the second building just to get a roof and walls around the large number of students.

The second building will be another one-story building with about 10 classrooms and a kitchen to feed the kids. Another ministry has graciously agreed to install the bathroom facilities.

The bare necessities are all lining up, but windows and doors to keep bugs out and let light in are the next essentials.

"We'd dearly love to have other people assist with things such as paying for doors, windows, maybe blackboards." Geurink adds. "We need to talk about benches and seats for the children."

In the midst of the growth and the decisions to be made, it could be easy to lose sight of what's most important. But Geurink says in the voodoo-ridden region, the school's leadership is still determined to teach the Gospel message above all else and turn kids' focus on Him. The growth of the school means more lives built up in Christ.

WWCS needs more mission teams to volunteer to come and help with the buildings. They also need more resources to help finish the schools so that kids can get the best possible education and learn without distraction about the Lord.

To help WWCS with this project, click here.

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  • Primary Language: French
  • Primary Religion: Christianity
  • Evangelical: 16.0%
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