Collapsed classrooms. Crumbled rooves. Terrified children. The earthquake that strucksouthern Haiti in August 2021 caused widespread damage and left behind a lot of questions. With more than 70% of schools in the region affected, the new school year, set to start in October,was seriously compromised. Most schools were severely damaged or destroyed—and even those not so badly affected were in no position to open their classroom doors.Parents were afraid their children might not be able to return to school or meetin Compassion’scenters.In Haiti, many schools meet at local churchesand use the same facilities as the child development center.
“Helping kids going back to school after the earthquake was an emergency,” said Marc-Henry, a Compassion projectfacilitator. In the mayhem and uncertainty, urgent,concrete responses were necessary. Local workers’immediate priority was to ensure the well-being of families through healthcare, psychological support, economic assistance and food supplies.But education is also a key to allow children to continue their studiesandflourish.So, only few days after the disaster, Compassion Haiti and center staff launched newstrategies to bring relief to hundreds of affected families. Thanks to the commitment and determination of sponsors and donors, in just a few weeks, newclassrooms were under constructionin more than 20 projects in several different cities in the South.The goal was simple:to restore the children’s hope that their education could continue.“We’re glad to achieve ourgoal of building temporary classrooms, thanks to the quick response and support of Compassion’s donors,” said Marc-Henry.Some construction is ongoing.But only months after the earthquake, most classroomshave been completed and the children of the region have returned to start a new school year. “I am so happy to meet my friends backat school. I can’t wait to start using my new books!” said Angie, an excited six-year-old student. Center staff say the revival of school activities is an important step in the recovery of the community after the disaster.“The excitement and happy faces of kids coming back to school justifiesall of the hard work of Compassion staff and the generous donors to build temporary classrooms,” said Pastor Clément, the leader of a frontline church partner.The efforts made in the earthquake’s aftermath from local staff, Compassion International and supporters from all over the worldhave enabled the children to return to their classrooms.Eventually, these classrooms will be replaced with classrooms built to international seismic standards,and these temporary buildings will turn into multi-purpose shelters.Laughter bursts out of the windows as children cheer to see their friends and teachers again.Their belief in a brighter future has been restored. In additiontonew classrooms, each student received new school supplies for the beginning of theschool year.Fify, projectdirectorat HA0629, hopes that his voice can reach the generous donors who have invested in supporting these children. Hesays: “That the childrencan gather again is such an amazing thing. I just want to thank all donors for their commitment to support us.”