A Video Visit to the Bazilo School in Haiti

 

TanyaphotoshopIMG_8533 Tanya Weinberg, Save the Children manager, media and communications

Port-au-Prince, Haiti

February 19, 2010

I shot some video at the Bazilo school, which I visited recently with Chloe O'Gara, Save the Children's associate vice president for education.

At the school, the kids have a chance to learn and play, escaping some of the chaos in their lives caused by the earthquake.

Before the earthquake, the school was receiving support as part of a four-year-old Save the Children campaign, called "Rewrite the Future," which provides education to children in conflict-affected areas around the world. Three of the young students are pictured below. (Photo credit: Louise Dyring)  

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After the quake, everything has changed. The school principal Marcelin Mireille says that Bazilo has become much more than a school for these children and their families.

Pictured below is Immalula Bourdeau, age 22, and her nephew Joseph, age 3. (Photo credit: Louise Dyring)

MomandPetersonRSZDIMG_8559 Joseph lost both his parents in the earthquake.

Immalula enrolled him at Bazilo so he could have some normal childhood experiences amidst the upheaval in their lives, and the school is now their home, too. 

She says the 50 people who squeeze into the area at nights are “like a family” now. 

What Madame Mireille and her staff at Bazilo have achieved and how important it is for the kids are summed up by Chloe O'Gara in a video shown  below. O'Gara says:

"What I saw here was a group of very resourceful people, deeply in touch with their community, who built on what was already there, which was trust and expectations. The community, as well, is responding with discipline and support for these remarkable people running the school."

Learn more about our emergency response to the earthquake in Haiti.

Help Us Respond to the Haiti Earthquake Emergency. Please Donate Now.

YOU CAN DONATE $10 TO THE HAITI EARTHQUAKE RELIEF FUND BY TEXTING “SAVE” to 20222 (US Only). Standard message rates  apply.

A Fierce Rain in Port-au-Prince

Tanya Weinbergblogrszd

Tanya Weinberg, Save the Children manager, media and communications

 

Port-au-Prince, Haiti

February 18, 2010

 

It’s the middle of the night and outside a fierce rain has whipped up in Port-au-Prince.  It’s coming in thunderous waves, drumming across the roof of Save the Children’s office. 

It gives me a chill, although I’m warm, dry, and safe inside.  I’m thinking how none of that is the case for many of the students and teachers I met at the Bazilo community school earlier today in the hard-hit neighborhood of Carrefour Feuille. 

Right now, about 50 children and adults must be trying to sleep on the gravelly clearing up a steep hillside from the schoolhouse.  They have lost their homes, and some their parents, and now they have only a few small tarps to cover them from this unwelcome storm.

Downhill below their camp, the earthquake-shaken school still stands, but nobody sleeps there or enters for classes. 

The Ministry of Education has not yet evaluated if the building is safe for use.  That will happen next week, said Haitian officials in a meeting our education staff attended today.  Save the Children will provide one of the teams of expert inspectors to be sent to schools across the city.

So many schools have been utterly destroyed– like the St. Gerard and Paroissiale Schools in Port-au-Prince, pictured at right. ( Photo credit: Robert King/Polaris )SchoolRSZD15

I really hope the Bazilo school is deemed safe and the children can come inside from night rains and harsh daytime sun as they try so hard to learn. 

It was inspiring this morning to see half a dozen packed classes of attentive kids crammed into a modest clearing next to the school.  Teachers led the smallest children in song and then lessons on counting.  Just on the other side of a chalkboard propped up from the dirt, older children practiced multiplication out loud.

Nobody complained about anything.  Occasionally some of the youngest children would cry for no easily apparent reason.  But it wasn’t hard to imagine how many reasons there could be.

The school principal, an amazing woman named Marcelin Mireille, explained how Bazilo has become much more than a school.  It’s a haven for children who have endured and lost much, but can find routine and nurturing support in the school’s safe orbit—even if there’s little protection from the rain.

Save the Children supported the Bazilo school before the earthquake through the “Rewrite the Future” campaign to improve education for children in conflict-affected areas. 

Now the school and students need help more than ever. 

Today we brought some learning materials, but it was soon obvious that the greatest immediate need is shelter—especially as the rainy season approaches. 

We’ll also provide training to the teachers on using new materials, supporting the children’s emotional and social needs, and on urgent issues of disaster risk reduction.

I hope they are keeping dry.

Learn more about our emergency response to the earthquake in Haiti.

Help Us Respond to the Haiti Earthquake Emergency. Please Donate Now.

YOU CAN DONATE $10 TO THE HAITI EARTHQUAKE RELIEF FUND BY TEXTING “SAVE” to 20222 (US Only). Standard message rates  apply.