Eben Ezer de la Redemption primary school which objective is to educate the deprived children functions everyday from 7:30 to 12:00. The school is situated in Lintho 1, one of the unhealthy slums of Cite Soleil (a shantytown situated on the north west side of Port-au-Prince with 300000 inhabitants).
Founded in 1978 by late Andre Lindor, this school is confronted today to numerous difficulties: dark and cramped rooms, leaked roof, dilapidated walls and various problems.
The school, divided into 8 classrooms (first to 6th grade) provides an academic formation to the children of the street merchants and the unemployed of Cite Soleil.
According to Sylvine Lindor co-principal and daughter of the founder, the total number of pupils have dropped from 214 in 1999 to 186 in 2001. And this due to economic hardship, she said.
Affected by the crisis that the country is confronted, the parents though aware of the importance of education, are unable to pay the modest amount requested by the Direction.
This has serious repercussions on the functionement of the school as the teachers cannot be paid regularly, Sylvine explains.
The pupils come to school on an empty stomach and cannot concentrate into the teachers’ lessons. They rely on a hot meal provided irregularly at the school’s canteen.
They are nearly stripped off and are preys to diseases due to malnutrition, confides 27 years old Odrel Janvier, also co-principal of Eben Ezer de la Redemption school.
Sylvine Lindor affirms having noticed many cases of acute diarrhea and poliomyelitis among the pupils. She’s aware that the latter live in an unhealthy environment.
The classes are taught thanks to the good will of the teachers who are also facing economic hardship. Three of them already abondoned within the school this academic year to do other profitable activity.
As fathers and mothers, they also know hunger, become ill and suffer tuberculosis. “ Sometimes, I cannot afford to pay the three gourdes of transportation to come to work”, cried out Amos Lundi 38, a teacher.
The lack of didactic books and materials harms considerably the comprehention and mastery skills taught in the classrooms. Oriel Mace 29, a teacher of the 6th grade stated that the pupils cannot have the school manuals because their parents cannot afford to purchase them.
According to Odenel st-Louis 36, teacher of the 3rd grade, the pupils apply to study in spite of poverty and common street riots that affect them in Cite Soleil.
Robenson Milien nickname Sonson 7 who attends seconde grade does not hide his love for school and he’s very thankful.” I can read and write now”, he said.
Reynold Banatte 27, a teacher of second grade said he’s satisfied by the results and success of his pupils and determined to continue with teaching.
However, he stresses on the need to provide refreshing and continued training to the teachers to carry out their tasks efficiently.
Stiven Junior 22, who teaches in the 6th grade deplores the disregard of the leaders of the country towards the schools in Cite Soleil. “ Education is not a priority for them. Without the input of these schools, these children would have fallen in delinquency”, he confided.
Oriel Mace has done his self evaluation of the school building and thinks it’s imperative to lodge it in a new building that meets the pedagogic requirements.
“ It’s not correct that four different grades function in one classroom. The pupils are unruly and troublesome during the talks of the teachers.
Starting from furnitures, uniforms, books, didactic materials to the teachers’ salaries, the needs and aids are various and pressing, said Sylvine Lindor.
The staff, made of 8 teachers and 2 principals shares their motivation to go forward and reach their objective for 2002, to accomodate/receive 400 pupils and to provide a daily hot meal, of course with the help of international organisations and public institutions involved in educational and humatarian field.