Edeyo and Haiti after the Earthquake
It has been nearly 10 months since the catastrophic earthquake hit Port-au-Prince, Haiti and shook the country’s core to the ground. This city of approximately 3.5 million has made meager progress toward recovery. Approximately 80% of people are unemployed, and a majority of people have no decent shelter, urban sanitation is absolutely minimal and clean water availability is scarce, which on its own is causing a new set of problems for the people of Haiti.
Recently a small team from Edeyo, a foundation formed on the birthday of founder Unik Ernest in 2007 which means “Help Them” in Haitian Creole, visited the kids and saw firsthand the situation in which the majority of Haiti’s population is dealing with every day. During their visit, Cholera (an acute intestinal infection caused by ingestion of contaminated water or food) had already claimed the lives of a couple hundred people. In the midst of the cholera outbreak and the painfully slow recovery from the January 12 earthquake that killed more than 250,000 people, Haiti must now prepare for a possible direct hit by Hurricane Tomas. Even in the scenario where Tomas just brushes Haiti, it could spread the epidemic and it would facilitate the spread of the disease in Port-au-Prince, where a third of the population continues living in refugee camps.
The Edeyo School, which collapsed because of the earthquake, had relied for a time on two festival tents donated by Hofstra University, set up in the middle of the street. Yet by the start of the current school year, the government wished to reopen the roads to traffic and using the tents was no longer a possible alternative. Our school director was able to re-rent the original building used during Edeyo start-up period, and while this is a temporary solution to get the classrooms out of the streets, Edeyo continues to raise funds to purchase land and rebuild a permanent school for the children.
Through the continuous turmoil and new challenges that arise every day, the Haitian people continue to have a resilient spirit and a welcoming smile that resonates hope. For more information on Edeyo, please visit its website www.edeyo.org
Edeyo is an independent, nonprofit organization, dedicated to improving the future for children in Haiti through education, providing them with a safe, nurturing school environment, learning materials, nutritional support, and the linguistic and critical thinking skills that will ensure their future success. Edeyo aims ultimately to provide new hope and opportunity by rebuilding high-quality schools for children in some of the most underprivileged parts of Port-au-Prince (Haiti).
All photos by Cynthia Bogard.