News / Americas

Schools Officially Reopen in Earthquake-Ravaged Haiti

Haitian schoolchildren, 05 Apr 2010
Haitian schoolchildren, 05 Apr 2010

Multimedia

Jeff Swicord

Children in Haiti are finally heading back to school, following the earthquake that struck the Caribbean nation on January 12. The Ministry of Education announced just last week that all schools had to reopen on Monday, and school districts across the country have been scrambling to meet the deadline.

At 8 o'clock on the dot Principal James Polot lines up his students for the start of the school day.

Like many schools around the world, the day begins by raising the flag to the national anthem.  But this is no normal day.  For the students of the George Washington School in Port-au-Prince, it is the first day of school since the earthquake that devastated Haiti more than two months ago.

Principal Polot told us that the Ministry of Education has mandated that the curriculum during the first two weeks be about the earthquake.

He told us teachers will not only talk about quakes and aftershocks, but what to do when they happen because in Haiti an earthquake can strike at any time.

There also will be time for students to tell personal stories and about the traumas they have lived through.

Not all schools are ready to open.  The Republic of the United States High School was still under construction a few days before the scheduled opening.  

Architect and engineer Jocelyn Laurnt said he was probably a week or more from completion.  There has been a shortage of building materials in the country, especially wood.

At the Small Borders of Jesus School, students and teachers were happy to see one another after the long break.

Principal Roland Fils Duclervil said he has received no assistance or instructions from the Ministry of Education.  He said he heard about the school opening on the radio like everyone else.  

He told us there would be no classes today, just a chance for school personnel to meet and plan a course of action.

We walked through a neighborhood and saw many children not in school.

Daniella Marclen has two children.  She said she has no money to prepare their school uniforms, and has heard nothing from their school.

Officials acknowledge that with much of the country still in chaos, there is no way of knowing how many schools can actually open, or if children will be able to attend.  Since the earthquake, starting anything in Haiti is a slow cumbersome process.  But for many of Haiti's school children, today was a fresh start.  

You May Like

US, Brazil's Climate-Change Plan: More Renewables, Less Deforestation

Officials say joint initiative on climate change will allow Brazil, United States to strengthen and accelerate cooperation on issues ranging from land use to clean energy More

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Reporting from Somali capital for past decade, Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal has been working at one of Mogadishu's leading radio stations covering parliament More

After Nearly a Century, Voodoo Opera Rises Again

Opera centers on character named Lolo, a Louisiana plantation worker and Voodoo priestess More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishui
X
Abdulaziz Billow
June 30, 2015 2:16 PM
Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video US Gay Marriage Ruling Yields Real-life Impact

Friday’s landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the United States is an outcome few thought possible just years ago, and shows a nation that increasingly tolerates and even celebrates the hopes and aspirations of gay people. VOA’s Michael Bowman spoke to a same-sex couple that will benefit from the high court ruling, and to a Christian scholar who is apprehensive about its potential consequences for America’s faith community.
Video

Video Syrians Flee IS Advance in Hasaka

The Syrian government said Monday it has taken back one of several districts in Hasaka overrun by Islamic State militants. But continued fighting elsewhere in the northern city has forced thousands of civilians from their homes. In this report narrated by Bill Rodgers, VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer describes the scene in Amouda, where some of the displaced are taking refuge.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video S. Korea Christians Protest Gay Rights Festival

The U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating marriage equality nationwide has energized gay rights supporters around the world. Gay rights remain a highly contentious issue in a key U.S. ally, South Korea, where police did a deft job Sunday of preventing potential clashes between Christian protesters and gay activists. Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Syrian Refugees Return to Tal Abyad

Syrian refugees in Turkey confirm they left their hometown of Tal Abyad because of intense fighting and coalition airstrikes, not because Kurdish fighters were engaged in ethnic cleansing, as some Turkish officials charged. VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer, in Tal Abyad, finds that civilians coming back to the town agree, as we hear in this report narrated by Roger Wilkison.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.
Video

Video In Syrian Crisis, Social Media Offer Small Comforts

Za’atari, a makeshift city in Jordan, may be the only Syrian refugee camp to tweet its activities, in an effort to keep donors motivated as the war in Syria intensifies and the humanitarian crisis deepens. Inside the camp, families say mobile phone applications help hold together families that are physically torn apart. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.

VOA Blogs

More Americas News

Mexico Won't Send Contestant to Miss Universe

Decision follows remarks by Donald Trump, an owner of the pageant, who referred to Mexican immigrants to US as criminals and rapists
More

US, Brazil's Climate-Change Plan: More Renewables, Less Deforestation

Officials say joint initiative on climate change will allow Brazil, United States to strengthen and accelerate cooperation on issues ranging from land use to clean energy
More

Obama, Rousseff Try to Put Spy Scandal Behind Them

Two leaders opened two days of talks in Washington on Monday
More

Climate Tops Obama Meeting with Brazil Leader

It is not yet known if Rousseff will announce her country's emissions reduction targets while in Washington
More

Puerto Rico Unable to Pay Its Debts

US territory reportedly is $72 billion in arrears; its bond debt per capita is said to be higher than in any American state
More

US Same-Sex Marriage Ruling Likely to Impact Other Countries

Gay rights activists in many parts of world believe court ruling will help their cause
More