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The Children's Villages in Santo, near Port-au-Prince and Cap Haitien are home to children from Haiti who face some of the poorest conditions in the world. SOS Children's Villages has been working here since 1982 and has also provided aid during natural disasters occurring in Haiti … more about our charity work in Haiti

Haiti: School extension gives more children a quality education

Celebrations at the opening of the SOS School extension
Celebrations at the opening of the SOS School extension

This week, 14 new classrooms have opened at the SOS School in Santo, Port-au-Prince, enabling an additional 490 pupils to receive an education and improve their chances for a brighter future. The school extension is part of SOS Children’s long-term reconstruction programme in Haiti following the 2010 earthquake, and is the first in a series of school renovations planned by the charity.

Even prior to the earthquake on 12 January 2010, millions of children in Haiti went without a primary or secondary education. Unlike some other countries, Haiti does not have a universal public education system funded by the government. Instead, it has a loose network of mostly for-profit private schools where tuition is about $135 a year – a significant expense for many families. In the earthquake, the situation only worsened. Existing schools collapsed, the Ministry of Education was destroyed; many school records were lost and more than 1,300 teachers died.

In the aftermath of the quake, the SOS School Santo in Port-au-Prince, which already provided an education to 500 students from deprived backgrounds, opened its doors to an additional 690 children. Initially, the children studied in tent schools before moving into temporary classrooms. The 14 permanent classrooms which opened this week have improved studying conditions for existing students, and meant that they are also able to take on an additional 490 students from the local area. Facilities at the school include a computer lab, a library, a room for counselling and a playground. Guests at the official opening ceremony on 5th October included Peter Schick, the German Ambassador to Haiti, the chairman of the education committee of CLIO (Le Cadre de Liaison Inter-ONG) and representatives of partner organisations.Children at the opening of school extension in Santo, Haiti

In addition to expanding the capacity and facilities at the SOS School Santo, construction work on a new SOS School in Les Cayes, Haiti’s third-largest city in the south of the country, will begin next month. We have also partnered with the Ministry of National Education in Haiti to refurbish four new public schools across Haiti. In addition to improving the availability of education, we are committed to improving the quality of schooling on offer. SOS Children are offering training for teachers and providing support for modernising educational techniques.

We believe that improving access to free and good education are necessary for rebuilding Haiti. "SOS Children gives high value to education and training because good education opens opportunities for the child's future which cannot be overestimated in its importance", says Francis Faroutine, educational programme coordinator for SOS Children in Haiti.

Read more about our work in Haiti.