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MERCYSTORIES

SHARING WORKS OF MERCY

What’s Happening in Haiti? An Update on the St. Jean Bosco School

by Fr. Bavon on May 19, 2022

Tucked in the mountains of Haiti, a few unassuming buildings pepper the hillside village of Bois de Laurence. This collection of chapels, out buildings, and a few new constructions serve the community by providing what is perhaps the greatest weapon against poverty — education. 

This small school has a big mission, one that has made a remarkable impact on the lives of thousands of children. With access to resources previously unavailable in remote parts of their country, Haitian children are paving the way to a better future for themselves and their communities.

The running of the St. Jean Bosco School is overseen by its president, Fr. Bavon Marie Mubakanda, CICM. A native of The Congo, he has lived with the people in Bois de Laurence for many years, and during his time he has helped the school attain significant growth and many outstanding achievements. 

However, as the number of enrolled students increases each year, sadly, so do the number of challenges faced by those fighting to keep the doors open and continue serving the children of Bois de Laurence.

Read Fr. Bavon’s words below and consider contributing to our work in Haiti.

Improving Education in Haiti

Our school was founded in 1971 in a highly mountainous region in the North-East Province of Haiti. Since then, we have faced enormous challenges, especially in the last few years as we have been working hard to improve our schools for both students and teachers. 

Upon my very first visit to the grade school, I was overcome with emotion, for no child should have to go to school under those conditions. With time, my prayers were met, and not only were we able to rebuild the grade school in one of our chapels but we could also complete a new middle and high school so that the children could continue their education.

Our school is now counted among the best schools in the North-East region. For two successive school years, our school’s test scores have ranked in second place out of all the schools in our region. Furthermore, last year, we had 10 district laureates from our middle school. For many, it is quite unbelievable that a small mountain school can perform so well.

Supplying Additional Resources to the Community

Our school offers much more than an education. We provide resources that improve the quality of life in these villages and prepare the children to have a long and successful life. 

To learn well, one must first be well nourished. We have improved students’ meals at the school cantina so that they may leave us with full bellies and minds. We have a regular kitchen staff now who come in daily to serve warm meals to the children.  Our students are always happy when they see the cantina open. For many of them, this may be the only meal they receive that day. 

The St. Jean Bosco School is also blessed to be able to provide healthcare coordination. Both students and staff can get primary care from our clinic. Some minor cases can be treated at school for free, which is a big relief for parents who would otherwise have to travel a great distance and spend a lot of money to visit a hospital.

Lastly, our new computer center gives high school students easy access to computers so that they may learn to use them as part of their studies. Technology, even electricity, is sometimes difficult to access in these remote regions. For our students, having access to our computer center means building skills that can improve their quality of life, for them and their families.

Continuing to Serve the Haitian Children

All of our accomplishments are only possible through generous donations from such wonderful people with great hearts.

Our hearts are filled with joy and gratitude for our global MercyWorks community who have made all of these improvements and achievements happen.

As we look to the future, however, we are humbled by the challenges ahead of us.

Every year the number of students is increasing — 1129 this year. We now have three extensions of our school in chapels in Sylvestre, Lagouamithe, and Logatte for children who are unable to make it to the main center.

These locations, however, require a lot of care. It pains me to see the children studying still inside rundown buildings, sitting in pews with feet dangling and using their knees as a writing desk. We hope to provide better classrooms and also proper latrines and other facilities so that they may learn with dignity.

How to Help in Haiti

1. Pray for the Children in Need

One effective way to show support for vulnerable children from any part of the world is through prayer. The power of prayer is immense, and by coming together and praying for those who need it the most, we ask God to provide the grace, healing, and resources that this community desperately needs. 

We invite you to join us in praying a novena to St. John Bosco, the patron saint of young people and school children, and ask for his intercession for the St. Jean Bosco School, including its students, teachers, and staff.

Pray the St. John Bosco Novena for the students at St. Jean Bosco School in  Haiti and all children worldwide.

2. Sponsor a Student

Due to the meager income of the people in our village, the school cannot survive on school fees alone. School supplies, teachers’ salaries, and regular upkeep
Sadly, many families cannot even afford the school fees, which is where we step in to cover the cost of the child’s education. We believe that no child should be forced out of school due to an inability to pay.

Tuition costs approximately $120 a year for a high school student and $60 a year for an elementary school student (school supplies and uniforms included). In many countries, that is almost nothing, but in Haiti that might be a family's entire yearly income.

We could not have come this far alone, and we cannot keep going alone. The impact that we have made in Haiti has helped thousands of children become more educated and confident in themselves. The more they learn, the more they will share and give back to their own community. The St. John Bosco School is so much more than just a school, it is a place of transformation.

Make a difference in a Haitian child’s life this year. Just $10 a month covers all the expenses of sending one child to school.

Sponsor a Student

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