Haiti School Closed by Virus Uses Resources Elsewhere
By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
May 21, 2020
PORT AU PRINCE, Haiti—The Haitian Project (THP), a ministry with ties to the Diocese of Rockford through its president emeritus, Deacon Patrick Moynihan, is focused on education of an academically-talented and motivated student population to help build up a Haiti where justice and peace thrive.
 
But in March, its Louverture Cleary Schools (LCS), a national network of tuition-free, Catholic, co-educational secondary boarding schools, were closed along with the rest of the country’s schools due to the coronavirus pandemic.
 
Moynihan, former assistant director of the Permanent Diaconate in the Rockford Diocese, notes that the ministry continues to pay its staff.
 
“We want to keep our great people together, many of whom have stood with the mission through failures of government, earthquakes, (and) cholera outbreaks,” he says. 
 
The staff is working to serve the community even as it plans for its future reopening.
 
The ministry provides food distribution and clean, potable water to the neighborhood each day, for example, although its early childhood development and after-school tutoring programs have been closed by the Minister of Education also.
 
LCS administration continues to meet to discuss the school’s further response, plans for safely reopening LCS once that is allowed, support for the grade 12 class as they prepare for the baccalaureate exam, and how to be in contact with and support LCS students at all levels at this time.
 
Residential staff are pushing ahead with major facilities projects, including wiring the computer lab in the new science building — the solar-powered electrical system in that building is now fully functional. The computer lab will host classes for 360 students once classes resume.
 
The Haitian Project also is putting some finishing touches on two new efforts.
 
The first will provide food support for a school in Cite Soleil that was established by residents and businesses in the area in response to youth violence and gang activity. The school provides a vital food program to the neighborhood.
 
The second effort is in support of Famille Kizito religious Catholic community, also in Cite Soleil, which serves 2,500 at-risk youth with education centers, food support, summer camp and Catechism programs. They also visit hundreds of prisoners to provide spiritual support.
 
LCS students have been volunteering there in summer. One sister, Sister Paesie, teaches in the religious education program at LCS and provides spiritual support for students there. She also was helpful in LCS’ collaborations with the Missionaries of Charity.
 
“We recently committed resources to (those two programs) as part of our continuous efforts to find ways to be supportive of our community and partners in Haiti,” says Mark (Colby) Bowker, vice president of THP.
 
“Haiti is an island. But, our colleagues are not. We stand together.”
 

 

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