Complexe Educatif Men Nan Men
Complexe Educatif Men Nan Men (Education Complex Hand in Hand) is located on a five-acre site in the Ganthier province, east of Port-au-Prince. The campus provides an expanding offering of educational opportunities that include a vocational school and language institute. The campus also includes a water purification system. This project will be developed in phases, dependent funding and the number of mission teams. Future phases will include expanded vocational training, a public health training center, guesthouse and chapel.
After the Earthquake
After the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, Foundation for Peace staff in the Dominican Republic went to Jimani, at the border, to assist with disaster relief. Seeing the overwhelming needs, FFP began sending volunteer teams from the US to provide disaster relief to earthquake victims and their families, primarily in Fond Parisien. Through these efforts, we built significant relationships with the local people, churches, non-governmental organizations (in particular our partner Haitian Christian Mission) and the local government.
When relief turned to rebuilding, we worked with the people of the region to determine their priority projects: a language and vocational school for the area.
Because of the exceptional work FFP did in Fond Parisen after the earthquake, the local Haitian government gave us a five-acre plot of land in the center of the county to build the education and training complex. The land, between Ganthier and Fond Parisien, gives the people in the region access to educational opportunities that presently don’t exist at all.
Plans Take Shape
Foundation for Peace hired Haitian firm, Belsa Development S.A. of Port-au-Prince for site planning, engineering and architectural services, and construction oversight. Our long terms plans for the site includes a vocational school, language institute, water purification system, school to train public healthcare workers, distribution center, guesthouse, and chapel.
The design of this complex is top-notch and will be a point of pride for the region. It meets new Haitian earthquake codes and is being constructed from quality materials. In addition to using Haitian engineers, we’ve hired skilled local Haitian workers to lead the construction effort.
In October 2010, under the leadership of Haitian foreman, Hernery Valentin, the site was leveled and construction started. Mission teams and Haitian workers from the local community built the first structures: a double stall latrine, a building for a water purification facility and a pavilion. Besides providing much needed shade, the pavilion also became a place for sharing and building relationships between Haitians and Americans.
In February 2011, our mission teams started constructing the first floor of the language institute. By June 2012— thanks to the help of hundreds of American volunteers and dozens of Haitian workers—we’d dug the foundation, poured the footings and erected 57 columns—all done by hand, without equipment.
In July 2012, we poured the roof—allowing the first floor to be opened for classes in the fall. The school was taking shape!
Complexe Educatif Men Nan Men Inaugurated
In October 2012, Foundation for Peace celebrated the opening of Complexe Educatif Men Nan Men with an inauguration attended by government leaders, including a past Haitian president, the UN, community and church leaders, FFP staff, Haitian workers, mission team members who worked on the school, and special guests.
It was a joyous day as we celebrated a tremendous undertaking accomplished by so many. The building stands as a powerful testimony to what we can do when working together hand in hand.
Within days of the inauguration over 500 men, women and teens registered and began taking classes in English and Spanish—even Mayor Ralph and members of the Haitian government enrolled! The Men Nan Men school offered 114 classes a week that were taught by three American missionaries and several Haitian teachers.
The school has become a vibrant hub in the region and every day brings a bustle of excitement and enthusiasm for learning. The students even started an English club where they meet in the pavilion and practice their burgeoning language skills.
The Vision Expands
After the completion of the first floor, we installed a water purification system and began to offer clean water to the students and people in the Ganthier region. We continue to expand our distribution methods to reach as many people as possible.
In April 2012 we began building the second floor of language school. Once completed we’ll offer vocational training in disciplines community members have asked for, like cosmetology, plumbing, science and computers. This expansion will allow enrollment of over 800 students!
A Region Transformed
“You didn’t send us food that only lasts a day. You send us education and that lasts a lifetime!”
Ralph Lapointe, Mayor, Ganthier, Haiti.
The educational and training programs offered at Men Nan Men are based on the specific requests of Ganthier community leaders—led by Mayor Ralph Lapointe, and City Hall Director, Mr. Jean Vilvalex Cetoute. Community members have said that the Men Nan Men school is “the answer to our prayers.”
Because few Haitians go to high school and even fewer go to college, they desperately need educational and vocational programs that provide skills for jobs. The ability to speak English greatly increases employment opportunities and provide opportunities to study abroad.
Education and Skills in Ganthier
- The Ganthier region is extremely impoverished and lacks the vocational skills necessary to develop and sustain a growing local economy.
- There is little skilled labor outside urban areas like Croix-des-Bouquets and Port-au-Prince.
- Complex Educatif Men Nan Men’s vocational programs will train workers to become electricians, plumbers, masons, computer technicians and other skilled workers.
- We aim to bring these skills to Western standards.
- The school will offer training in other trade areas as the opportunities arise.
- Fond Parisien is located near the Haitian-Dominican border. A tremendous amount of goods come into Haiti at this border.
- The Men Nan Men language students will be equipped with English and Spanish knowledge that is crucial to conducting business on the border. Increased trade benefits the entire community.
Led by a Strong Leader
Complexe Educatif Men Nan Men and all of FFP’s activities in Haiti are led by Pastor Michel Valentin. His intelligence, passion and commitment to this vision have helped FFP accomplish what few non-profits in Haiti have done—a true cooperative effort that represents the needs and desires of the Haitian people.
As we continue to develop Complexe Educatif Men Nan Men, it rises as visual evidence of what makes Foundation for Peace a truly unique non-profit. And a testimony to what can happen when we work together. Hand in hand.
Men Nan Men students share their hopes and dreams
To Whom It May Concern:
Greetings from Haiti. We are Students at Hand in Hand School. We are coming to learn English because it is very important. We would like to speak with someone from America, and it will help us get a job. I live at Fond-Parisien near the building of La Paz. I live with my parents now and I hope that one day I will live elsewhere. I want to ask you too, where do you live? With whom do you live? What kind of dreams do you have for us in Haiti?
Receive this sincerely,
To Whom It May Concern:
I live in Fond Parisien with my little sister because I’m the first having been born by my mother and my father. It’s a long time since my mother and my father left, this is the reason I am not near them now. In class I understand my teacher pretty good because she is a good teacher. My favorite food is rice and chicken meat, I feel better when I am with my classmates.
To Whom It May Concern:
I live in Fond-Parisien at the village. I live with my sisters. I prefer the English language. My favorite food is meat and bananas. My favorite color is pink. I like music and sports.
To Whom It May Concern:
I live in Fond Parisien with my relatives. Why am I living with my relatives? I live with my parents because I don’t have a house. When will I leave my parents? I will leave my parents when I am going to get married.