January 1 – 8, 2015 – Haiti
This course involved both OfC’s educational program and village health. OfC’s main project right now is the construction of a building for both the Maranatha restavek school and Lekol Dete. We are halfway there! Please see our front page for a link to donate! The village health program continued with a celebration of the rebuilt irrigation canal, organization of the Bellabe village farmers’ association, a hike to Platon Fortress from Haiti’s colonial era, and plans to construct a permaculture garden at OfC’s home in Bellabe.
June 29 – July 10, 2013 – Haiti
The third annual Lekol Dete (“Summer School”) was held for six weeks; this school unites Restevek (indentured servant) and free children for a unique program that emphasizes games and activities that develop problem-solving and practical skills. The OfC students joined in for teacher training week and the opening session of Lekol Dete with 200 children! OfC students have formed lasting relationships with the Haitian children and say there is nothing like the day trip to the Port Salut beach with them.
March 16 – 23, 2013 – Haiti
The focus of this course was on Community Health in Rural Haiti. Access to safe water, sufficient nutrition and vaccinations are key to good public health. But what do Haitians do when they get sick? What do they believe causes these diseases? Basic health screenings were performed, particularly blood pressure and diabetes screenings and referrals to medical care if so indicated.
February 16 – 23, 2013 – Haiti
A group of five high schools students from Amherst, accompanied by Ken Mundt and two college graduates (and former OfC students) focused on La Frisiliere school. They prepared and presented lessons via flash cards and music. They also met with the youth soccer team, the Ouragans, and finished up with a day at the beach at Port Salut.
January 3 – 12, 2013 – Haiti
A group of graduate students from UMass public health, let by Dr. David Buchanan (who is an OfC Advisor), visited every house in Bellabe, took water samples from every well, checked latrines and interviewed the women of the village about their health experiences. This course was a preliminary investigation for the course that was held in March, 2013. In addition, Doug Albertson hiked to Pic Macaya with an American who has lived in the area for many years. The purpose was to investigate the possibility of offering a course in environmental studies and/or bird watching in one of the few remaining unspoiled areas of Haiti.
July 11-12, August 11-18, 2012 – Haiti
The 2012 summer courses focused on Lekol Dete (“Summer School”) 2012—an OfC program that brings Restavek (indentured servant) and free children together for a unique summer school program with an emphasis on games and activities that develop problem-solving and practical skills.
The first week focused on Lekol Dete teacher training, followed by the opening sessions with 250 children! We conducted a community health survey and screening program in Bellabe—the rural village that’s home to OfC’s house and classrooms. Lekol Dete 2012 ended on August 16th but included a day at the beach at Port Salut with the children, teachers and staff! You’ve never seen more joy in one place than the day Lekol Dete goes to the beach!
February 17-25, 2012 – Haiti
This course emphasized building local collaborative networks, with a focus on the community school in the remote rural village of Lafrisiliere. Student worked with local residents and school leaders to continue to increase community commitment to and involvement with their school, including completing construction projects on the school building.
In 2010 OfC committed to help the Lafresilière Community School get back on its feet. Construction of the school started 10 years ago but never has been finished. Enrollment dwindled to just over 50 students due to the extreme poverty of this community, as tuition ($1 per child per month) is too expensive for most families. OfC sponsored teachers for the 2010-2011 school year, built a latrine (the school had no toilet facilities), and built and provided blackboards to replace the crumbling particle board shared by multiple classes. Enrollment is now over 120 students, and every grade has its own teacher! OfC has committed to sponsoring the teachers for the 2011-2012 school year.
January 2-11, 2012 – Haiti
This course focused on understanding and applying the Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) approach to better understanding the basic development needs and existing resources in the rural Haitian village of Bellabe, near Les Cayes. Students worked collaboratively with the leaders and the young people of Bellabe. Course objectives included developing with the village a plan for development projects to be evaluated for implementation in 2012. Students also interacted with teachers and students at the school for Restavek (indentured servant) children in Les Cayes, to learn about their educational needs including vocational and life skills instruction.
Students learned about OfC’s current Micro-loan programs, toured the Torbeck Rice Factory and learned about agricultural economics.
August 2011 – Les Cayes and Bellabe Haiti
Students learned about and contributed to OfC’s current Micro-loan programs and developed a new Rent-to-Own Tool program and also participated in Lekol Dete, a summer school bringing together children living in Restavek with those who do not. Students also worked with residents of Lafresillere to help prepare their community school for the new school year.