In April 2009 OfC obtained a plot of agricultural land in the village of Bellabe in order to support our educational programs, including an Agricultural Demonstration Center (ADC). Although the ADC has not been a primary focus (with only pigeon peas planted), future uses of this land include researching and testing alternative methods for maintaining soil health; and identifying and testing alternative crops than have traditionally been raised in this village, ultimately to enhance the nutritional value and yield of crops raised in this area.
A small house was built in 2009, with a bathroom and running water. A well was also dug. Over time a second floor has been added, a second bathroom (outhouse with running water) has been built and improvements to the well have been completed (cement apron and metal door). In June 2010 classrooms were constructed with metal doors. These have been used as classrooms, dormitory-style accommodations, and kitchen.
In June 2010 OfC made a commitment to help the Lafresilière Community School get back on its feet. Construction of the school was started in 2000 by Maitre Jean, 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. In return for OfC’s support of the school, the community is involved in maintaining the building and grounds. During the 2010-2011 school year, OfC sponsored all teachers and covered their salary ($4,000). Enrollment grew to over 120 students and every grade has its own teacher. We built and provided blackboards to replace the crumbling particle board shared by multiple classes and built a latrine (the school had no toilet facilities). We have continued to support school building construction. Walls and floors have been completed – each grade now has it’s own room – and a door was installed making it possible for the school to participate in a free-food program.