Haitian Students Celebrate First Two of Five Schools Rebuilt by Architecture for Humanity & Students Rebuild
SEATTLE, Jan. 12, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — On the anniversary eve of Haiti’s devastating earthquake, hundreds of Haitian students are celebrating. That’s because two new schools supporting 490 students have opened their doors, and three more are slated to open later this spring. The Haiti School Initiative, managed by Architecture for Humanity’s Haiti Rebuilding Center awarded funds to the five schools for reconstruction. The youth-powered Students Rebuild program supported the Initiative through creative fundraising, generating $650,000 to rebuild stronger, safer, permanent schools.
“There are many complicated things in building a school and this new building is beautiful,” says Vivianne Vieux, headmistress of Ecole la Dignite, Cayes Jacmel. “It is not a building, it is a work of art.”
Ecole La Dignite, in Cayes Jacmel, is a two-classroom extension to the only free private school in the region. With features like custom stone wall reinforcing and woven bamboo/steel window screens, Dignite exemplifies a balance of strength and beauty in Haitian architecture.
Lessons from Dignite informed a strong collaboration in Montrouis. The first phase of College Mixte Le Bon Berger built eight classrooms on two stories, allowing plenty of opportunity for local subcontractors to design and build interpretive door and window screens from recycled metal.
Despite different locations and site conditions, Dignite and Montrouis accomplish common aims: to create comfortable and engaging places to learn, incorporating materiality, color, dynamism, a mix of interior and exterior spaces and an understanding of and respect for craft and sustainability. The Rebuilding Center selects local contractors and provides on-site training and construction oversight to ensure these qualities are preserved through strong construction for generations.
As students reenter classrooms in Montrouis and Dignite, students across North America are celebrating, too. Following the devastating earthquake on January 12, 2010, more than 1,880 middle and high schoolers mobilized as part of Students Rebuild, a collaborative initiative that inspires young people to take action on global issues. Students Rebuild participants launched rock concerts, bake sales, walk-a-thons and other creative efforts, and money raised was matched dollar-for-dollar by the Bezos Family Foundation. Throughout the yearlong program, participants also forged connections with their Haitian peers through interactive videoconferences and storytelling led by the Global Nomads Group. All told, Students Rebuild participants helped generate $650,000 for rebuilding stronger, safer, permanent schools.
Architecture for Humanity and Students Rebuild anticipate the construction and reopening of three additional schools this year: Ecole Elie Dubois, Home of Knowledge and Bon Berger Pele.
For More Information
Architecture for Humanity – http://architectureforhumanity.org
Students Rebuild – http://studentsrebuild.org
Haiti Rebuilding Center – http://openarchitecturenetwork.org/projects/haiti_reconstruction
Montrouis project page – http://openarchitecturenetwork.org/projects/montrouis
Dignite project page – http://openarchitecturenetwork.org/projects/schooldignite
Interview with Design Fellow Gerry Reilly - http://studentsrebuild.org/blog/2051/building-montrouis-and-dignite
Video: A Story of Youth in Action – http://studentsrebuild.org/blog/2053/film-premiere-story-of-youth-action.html
SOURCE Architecture for Humanity