Three years after the earthquake more than 300,000 people continue to live in tents and makeshift accommodation; the specter of cholera looms large; the discovery of gold in the northern mountains threatens environmental disaster; Hurricane Sandy destroys an estimated 70% of crops in the south.
Even as some in the media begin to question the pace of the recovery effort, we maintain our commitment to the children of Bel Air (in Port-au-Prince). Edeyo is here to stay, and our energy remains undimmed.
This is not about a feel-good moment, or a photo-op. Ours is a long-term promise—a promise to girls and boys like ten-year-old Ganaelle Pierre, who told us: “There are a lot of people I respect, but I admire Edeyo most of all, because they show me that I can be anything”. Few families in Haiti, and even fewer in impoverished Bel Air, can afford the $150 a year it typically costs to send a child to school.
But amongst the continuing disaster stories, and the disillusionment, there are new signs of hope. One recent survey suggests that in Haiti, there has been a 22% growth in school attendance among children between 6 and 11 years old, over the last eight years, and a striking increase in school attendance among girls in Haiti.
We at Edeyo see education as the means to empower a new generation that will shape its own future, rebuilding the country as never before in its two-hundred-year history, and moving towards a sustainable future at the national and local level. With this goal in mind, we want to cultivate not just basic literacy, but pride in the rich culture and language of Haiti, and renewed awareness – among the children – of the country’s human and natural beauty.
In Bel Air, a troubled neighborhood with a vibrant literary and artistic past, we see not just suffering in the present, but also—for the future—real promise.