The 2010 earthquake devastated Haiti, and specifically the densely over populated Port-au-Prince. In the years since the disaster, billions of dollars of aid have gone into reconstructing and rebuilding many areas. While a lot of important work has cleared away most of the post-earthquake destruction, aid has fallen far short of uplifting the neighborhoods and communities that were struggling economically before the disaster. Many neighborhoods in Port-au-Prince have little access to clean drinking water and reliable electricity. According to the CIA World FactBook, currently almost 30% of households in the major urban cities do not have electricity, and of those that do, 88% have no access to the internet.
Since the earthquake, we at The Larocco Haiti Project have implemented many programs and projects to help uplift communities in Port-au-Prince. We have retrofitted houses, and brought fresh drinking water and reliable sanitation to over 15 homes and family communities. However, our most important program to date is our Education Re-admittance Initiative, which identifies students who were forced to leave school because of the earthquake and due to familial poverty are unable to rejoin the school system. While we have been successfully re-enrolling the students in our program, supplying their tuition, uniforms and school supplies, 82% of our students come from homes without reliable electricity. Most of our students leave the classroom and go home to houses without lights or desks to complete their assignments. This makes keeping up with their studies and completing their homework almost impossible.
We are proposing to build a community center in the heart of the Carrefour Feuille region. The center will host 2 rooms for quiet study with individual desks and lights, 2 classrooms with blackboards and projection, with computers and internet access; and one large communal space for instruction in various vocational skill sharing. This center is integral to supporting the students’ academic progress by giving them a safe and reliable place with electricity and internet to complete their homework. The community center will be open to all people who need a place to complete school work, and will be run by members of The Larocco Haiti Project on the ground in Port-au-Prince. We have consulted with three trusted architects and have received an estimate of $86,000 to construct the center, and $14,000 to add reliable electricity, plumbing and internet access with a projected timeline to be completed in approximately 6 months. Furthermore, Larocco exclusively uses locally sourced contractors who provide crucial apprenticeship programs to youth looking to learn vocational skills.