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IN THE SPOTLIGHT
COHP Gets a New Facility
By Bambi Betts 10-Jun-15
Five years ago, on 1 May 2010, following the massive earthquake that devastated much of Haiti, the Children of Haiti Project (COHP) opened its humble doors to 85 children, then living in the makeshift tent cities that housed them for nearly four years. Today, COHP continues to serve these children, with a commitment to see them through the equivalent of a high school diploma. All of them are still living in abject poverty, but while their circumstances outside the classroom remain challenging, the program can now offer these students an expanded facility, and with it, access to greater resources. Run solely on contributions from key donors (including TIE and the PTC, along with a dozen international schools and some generous individuals), we were recently able to move the school to a much more suitable location where the student experience now includes physical activity, use of a resource center, greater access to technology, and much improved sanitation. Eight of the most needy children are now housed on site in residential quarters. Despite their daily hardships, every single COHP student has now learned to read and write in both Creole and French. Every student that took the recent national fourth-grade exam passed with ease. Every one of them knows how to ask meaningful questions, and does so regularly. Every child is in good health. And every single one comes to school each day. The new facility and the fact that instruction can now be offered in French have opened up the possibility of accepting volunteer teachers for both short and longer term stints. Modest sleeping accommodations are available right on the premises. Five years on, these children—whose future was so uncertain—now have a real chance of becoming vibrant and productive contributors in Haiti. Bambi Betts is Director of the Principals Training Center (PTC) and is a founding board member of COHP.
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