We are always delighted to greet you and keep you up to date on HCDF operations. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for all you've done to make it possible for us to accomplish our goals here in Haiti, and especially in the Fond-des-Blancs region.
The tremendous instability in Haiti has persisted in recent weeks.
While the rest of the country may be reeling from the consequences of the crisis, Fond-des-Blancs remains a calm haven well suited to continuing activities and projects currently in place.
The outcomes of our students' participation in nationally-recognized tests were delivered to us just last month. The achievements of our pupils have once again exceeded our expectations, and for this we are really pleased and proud.
All students in the ninth grade and the final year of high school are required to take a yearly standardized test administered by the government. Those tests were aced by every L'Exode student. There was a third-place finish in our school district by a senior named Georgy Bernadel. Aside from being a stellar student, Georgy has also contributed significantly to our social media presence by frequently posting Instagram and Facebook updates documenting our adventures.
HCDF, with the aim of improving the quality of education in Fond-des-Blancs and particularly the capacity of its teachers, has partnered with P4H Global to support and partner with us for the next three years. HCDF is pleased to thank P4H's entire team for its great contribution in carrying out our 2nd annual training session in which we welcomed more than 208 teachers from around the district from August 29 to 31, 2022.
For the new academic year 2022-2023, our schools were to reopen on September 5, but the reopening was postponed to October 3, 2022 in accordance to the new calendar published and adopted by the “Ministère de l’Education Nationale et de la Formation Professionnelle” (MENFP). This date was once again postponed for another week. There is a parent/teacher meeting the first Saturday of every month of the school year. That meeting was held October 1. A vote was held allowing the parents to voice their comfort with allowing their children to come to school despite the fact there may be no food to feed them and no motorcycles to transport them. They overwhelmingly voted for the school to reopen.
We are thankful to the farm for allowing us the ability to feed our students everyday and be a natural local source of food for the community. Thanks to the abundance of rain, our maize crops are flourishing. A fruitful harvest is within reach. Some additional crops are also ready for picking at this time, including bell peppers, bananas, tomatoes, etc.
The Baptist Church of Fond des Blancs just hosted the return of its large annual convention in consultation with the district of Fond-Des-Nègres from August 12 to 15, 2022. The theme was taken from the book of Daniel 2:21 "God controls times and circumstances." More than 500 people, accompanied by their respective leaders participated in this great celebration.
We are always encouraged by the fact that our efforts to promote and foster quality education consistently produce positive results.We look forward to meeting our students on October 3rd, as per the MENFP's revised calendar. Several motivational meetings for instructors have already been arranged in order to ask them to carefully use and utilize the teaching-learning tools and techniques learnt throughout the training.
Our continual mission is to constantly provide the highest level of education possible. Which is why we always working outfit our classrooms with projectors and other modern teaching tools.
As we announced a few months ago, we are working hard with leaders in the community of Fond-des-Blancs to set up a university for the benefit of young people from the community and surrounding areas. Two majors are offered: agricultural sciences and nursing sciences. This university is called: "Center for Research and University Education of the South (CREUS)". This will help the parents of the community to offer their children a quality education that meets national and international standards without having to travel to metropolitan areas, which have now become inaccessible and unlivable due to the proliferation of groups of armed gangs, the climate of insecurity and the deprivation of adequate and necessary building structures. The damage recorded following the unfortunate and terrible earthquake of August 14, 2021, on the southern peninsula and the Department of Nippes, preventing students to continue their studies in a peaceful and appropriate environment is also a strong indicator to initiate this project of this university center.
Arrangements are already in place for the grand opening next October. Registrations are launched and an admission competition will take place soon to recruit students. Classes will be delivered face-to-face and virtually. HCDF has four (4) new classrooms in the secondary section for the launch of this project. Two of them are already finished, the other two will be ready at the end of September.
45 hectares of land are planted with maize following a precise sowing schedule over the past month, progressing very well. That is 13 hectares in full maturity, 19.35 hectares in the fruiting stage and 5 hectares in the phonological stage. The farm has been able to put some of it's products in to local markets, We rejoice in the satisfaction from our farmers, landowners and direct beneficiaries of our agricultural projects, especially in this time of alarming food crisis. The farm contributes greatly today to the intellectual development of young school children in the community. A group of 19 children, accompanied by their school leaders, had come to learn about the modern production and processing techniques envisaged by the farm. In addition, Jubilee Farm continues to receive requests from various universities in the country to provide internship opportunities for their students.
A group of 7 students from the Polyvalent University of Haiti (UPH) will come during the month of September to deepen their knowledge of the mechanisms of plant production and protection. Another aspect is to be considered at the level of the new entrepreneurial vision developed by the farm this year. Our former trainees, who have been working for a few years as employees, will benefit from technical and financial support to launch their own businesses. For example, 17 hectares of land, two (2) of our trainees propose to produce corn and supply our processing workshop. Others are interested in broiler and egg production. Finally, all these ambitious projects will aim to create jobs, financial autonomy, and food self-sufficiency.
So much has changed in the few weeks since this letter was written.
We are grateful for the safe and community-minded residents of Fond des Blancs, who are always vigilant in looking out for one another and keeping each other safe.
Unfortunately, Port Au Prince and other metropolitan places do not get to experience this. Haiti has entered what may be the toughest time of our lifetime.
With gangs constantly gaining control and utilizing that influence to impede and restrict gasoline access, as well as put stress on Haiti's already precarious system.
The Haitian economy is exploding at a cataclysmic rate, gangs activity is non-stop, fuel is scarce, transportation of people and goods has ceased, food is becoming increasingly expensive, if and when it can be found, and stores and banks are closed or limited. Haiti is in a dark period, with no genuine answers or alternatives in sight. People whose powers have already been taken away or severely constrained are always the most penalized; the poor bear the brunt of these injustices.
We will devote our next newsletter to providing updated news and perspectives on what is going on in Haiti.