Food For The Poor Builds Temporary Classrooms After Haiti Earthquake

Temporary School Shelters, Cavaillon_05c: Workers build a temporary classroom in Cavaillon, Haiti, using construction materials provided by Food For The Poor donors. Photo/Food For The Poor

Relying on a time-saving design that can be finished much faster than a traditional school, Food For The Poor (FFTP) is racing to build temporary classrooms in Haiti in the same area devastated by the August 14 earthquake, so children can return to class sooner.

Haiti and classrooms

Haiti is struggling to send children back to school after the quake, which killed more than 2,200 people and destroyed tens of thousands of homes, including at least 258 schools, in the country’s southwestern peninsula.


Additional Aid

Other actions undertaken by FFTP to help Haiti get back on its feet include:

  • Installing a new water treatment system in partnership with Water Mission with two 1,000-gallon tanks to store clean drinking water for as many as 800 people a day.
  • Building two new satellite offices that will provide living quarters for team members to oversee work and cultivate meaningful relationships in the communities.
  • Inaugurating a 13th regional distribution center in Cap-Haitien.


Restoring education

UNICEF has said about 70 percent of the schools there were damaged or destroyed. The earthquake delayed the reopening of schools by a month.

So far, FFTP has supplied materials for three temporary schools in Cavaillon, benefiting a total of more 1,200 students, using the new design.

Each two-classroom block has a solid concrete floor with walls and a roof made from lumber and zinc that can installed in as fast as seven days.

FFTP has received requests from churches to build temporary classrooms for about a dozen schools. The charity has committed to building five for the Catholic Church, three for the Episcopal Church and two for the Protestant Church.

“It’s clear to us how much damage was done in this area. We’ve got to get the kids back in school,” FFTP President/CEO Ed Raine said. “We’re committed to building relationships with the churches in a more permanent way by working alongside them to get these classrooms done quickly.”

The quake is the latest disruption to classroom learning that has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and gang violence seizing much of the country. Now, the country is gripped by fuel shortages and workers striking in protest to a recent wave of kidnappings, shutting businesses, schools and public transportation.

FFTP has told Haiti’s Ministry of Education that it can build 30 additional two-classroom blocks, using the temporary design. The charity has enough construction materials on hand to build 110 classrooms.

Building schools is just one component of FFTP’s long-term plan to help Haiti recover from the quake as it continues to send critical aid to desperate families in need of food, medicine and medical supplies, and hygiene items.


South Florida shipments

To date, the charity’s Coconut Creek headquarters has designated 159 shipments to Haiti, including 149 containers and 10 shipments sent by air freight. FFTP-Haiti has successfully delivered 136 truckloads to the area affected by the quake.

The charity has moved displaced families into 107 newly built homes, the start of a home-building initiative to put hundreds more families in safe shelter.

FFTP has a commitment to work toward building 400 homes in two villages for families displaced by the earthquake. And the charity will build an additional 200 homes out of its general funds.

“I know things seem really bleak right now in Haiti, but we are continuing to plan for the future,” Raine said. “These projects are evidence that we are going to be able to continue working in Haiti in a very real way. At some point, we believe Haiti will come to a complete halt. When that happens, we’re going to face a massive humanitarian challenge and we’ll be able to respond better by being present in these communities.”

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