In Léogâne, the town that was the epicenter of the January 12 earthquake in Haiti, you see signs of recovery and life resuming. People have returned to markets to sell their crops and wares, rubble is being removed from key thorough fares, and schools are being rebuilt.
On August 25, USAID and the Digicel Foundation inaugurated École Louis de Borno, the first school built under a new public-private partnership to construct new schools for people affected by the earthquake. Approximately 50 schools are planned that benefit up to 30,000 children.
“Immediately after the earthquake, 4,800 schools were damaged or destroyed. USAID is proud to play a role in helping children return to school through a number of our projects,” said USAID Haiti Mission Director Carleene Dei. “This new partnership with Digicel illustrates USAID’s commitment of exploring new and innovative approaches meet the educational, economic development and job-training needs of Haitian communities.”
Under the USAID partnership, some of the schools will be constructed with U.S. military shipping containers which are being converted into school campuses. USAID procured about 100 shipping containers that had been used as part of the Joint Task Force-Haiti’s humanitarian mission in the aftermath of the earthquake.
The project is also employing youth for the construction of the schools through the USAID-funded IDEJEN livelihood initiative. IDEJEN provides out-of-school youth ages 15-24 with basic, non-formal education and vocational training. This effort, which will employ up to 100 people at a pre-fabrication plan in addition to those on site assembly will serve to get money to Haitian families in need, stimulate the economy and help develop a workforce able to participate in upcoming reconstruction efforts.