For 8th grader Fabienne and her fellow students at the Zoranje educational campus, learning is the order of the day at a new, state-of-the-art, handicap-accessible middle school built and opened by the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC). That’s because two years after the earthquake, JDC has focused its relief work on children’s education and disabilities-related programming in collaboration with its Haitian, Israeli and other NGO partners. Through $8.6 million dollars in donations from the Jewish Federations of North America and tens of thousands of individual donors, JDC’s projects, including the middle school, have impacted nearly 300,000 Haitians to date.
The middle school, which was funded by The Bonita Trust and JDC, is located 30 miles outside of Port-Au-Prince on the Zoranje educational campus which also contains a kindergarten and elementary school. The schools follow the national education curriculum and offer modern teaching methods, extracurricular activities, and supplemental art, music, science and language classes. JDC also equipped the campus with a water system, a source of clean water for the whole community, and built a mother/child clinic operated by Partners in Health (Zanmi Lasante). The clinic will serve as a health education center, teaching children and parents about basic hygiene and disease prevention. The educational campus is operated by JDC’s Haitian partner PRODEV.
In its work with disabled Haitians injured and impacted by the earthquake, JDC established a state-of-the-art rehabilitation center and prosthetics clinic at Port-Au-Prince’s HUEH (l’Hôpital de l’Université d’Etat d’Haïti). More than 3,000 people have directly benefited from these rehabilitation services, including many lower and upper limb amputees. A JDC-Afya Foundation workshop is also training Haitians to create functional products such as a clamped mortar and pestle for one-handed people as well as to fix wheelchairs and walkers.
In 2012, JDC will continue its investment in physical rehabilitation services at HUEH and in the tent cities; build a new school in the community village of Fondwa replacing the school that was completely destroyed in the earthquake; provide community service programs through the Zoranje campus; engage in leadership training for Haitian civil society; ensure the continued integration and services for children with disabilities in schools; and provide vocational training in the areas of construction, plumbing, carpentry, nursing, and telecom services.
Among JDC’s operational partners in Haiti, are: The Afya Foundation; Catholic Relief Services; Chabad-Lubavitch of the Dominican Republic; EcoWorks International; Heart to Heart International; International Medical Corps; The International Rescue Committee; The Israel Trauma Coalition; Magen David Adom; MASHAV; Sheba Medical Center; The Bond Street Theater; The Coady International Institute; The Medical Corps of the Israel Defense Forces; Partners in Health (Zanmi Lasante); PRODEV; UNICEF Haiti; USAID Haiti; U.S. Fund for UNICEF; and World ORT.
photos by Gideon Herscher; courtesy JDC