Unrest in Haiti.
It has been a difficult few days in Haiti with the violent demonstrations, looting, burning vehicles and barricades in the streets. It brought the country to a standstill. Everyone had to stay at home or wherever they were caught when the mayhem started."To me", Carol Guy-James Barratt, writes, "violent acts seem senseless in an already struggling country. At times like this, I have to hold on to old beliefs to stay on track. I went back to my Montessori books and read about her philosophy on “Education for Peace” Montessori believed that in order to bring about a world of peace and tolerance, where war and violence is an absurdity."
It is important to have the type of education where children can learn to be peaceful, and would grow up to be adults capable of positively reconstructing society.
With determination our Fondation-Peter-Hesse will continue to promote the opening of more schools and train teachers to teach in those schools.
There will be 5 new schools opening in September, and 28 new teachers are about to graduate – a small contribution towards peace.
World Environment Day 2018
Personal pledges to protect the environment
This year, to mark world environment day, the Peter Hesse Foundation invited leaders from the community in Liancourt to a seminar on the environment. We asked the leaders to pledge their personal support to protect the environment. We also asked each person to say what part they could play by changing a habit such as refraining from doing something harmful, or doing something positive for the environment. Individual pledges ranged from composting food leftovers; not using styrofoam boxes for food take-aways, starting a small backyard vegetable garden, using reusable drinking bottles. Since most of the leaders are heads of churches and heads of schools, they also promised to spread the message of environmental stewardship and the role of Individuals in Protecting the Environment, to their students and congregations.
New Photo from our Haiti project partner-school in 2018
To see Carol's facebook posts
Achievements of the Peter Hesse Foundation since the opening of it’s teacher training center in 2013 to 2017.
Since the new teacher training centre was built after the earthquake, the Foundation has trained 94 teachers, and helped some of them to set up 6 new schools.
95% of teachers who graduated in the first 5 teacher-training promotions, are employed as teachers in different parts of Haiti. This means that not only is the Foundation directly creating long-term livelihoods for these new teachers, but that more and more children will continue to benefit from a quality education during the lifetime of their careers as teachers.
2,900 more children are now benefiting directly from quality instruction as a direct result of the 6 new schools which were created by our graduating teachers.
We have continued our commitment to improving teacher skills. And over the last 4 summers we have conducted in-service training seminars for 64 teachers from schools in different regions of Haiti, to improve their skills in teaching, as well as workshops for them to make their own classroom materials.
All of the teachers who attended these workshops were trained by the Foundation over the years. Some had only been Montessori teachers for one year. Others had been Montessori educators for over twenty years and were still operating the schools they opened when they completed their initial training with the Foundation that long ago. Staying at the residential training centre during the in-service training workshops was also a time for these teachers to share their experiences, renew old friendships and help their younger colleagues.
We also made site visits to 12 schools to provide technical assistance and to assure the quality of education in those schools.
2 + 3 November 2017. Laughter and Glue:
Two days well spent in the teacher-training campus of the Peter-Hesse-Foundation in Liancourt, Haiti:
Two of the 7 teachers attending in Liancourt making materials for their schools.
Didactical materials are in short supply in Haiti and most schools do not even have alphabet charts, especially in the countryside.
Sometimes, Carol Guy-James Barratt wishes we could just go out and buy materials because it is a lot of work to make them ourselves. But when we are sitting together, exchanging experiences and talking about our schools and our kids, the ambience of fellowship is worth the work.
Two new Montessori project preschools opened this year:
The new school "Ecole Montessori de Dessalines", opened by one of our recently graduating students in October 2017 - and the school "Les Petits Genies" in Petionville also opened now by one of our teachers who already graduated in 2008.
New Promotion of Student Teachers 2017
The Peter-Hesse-Foundation welcomed 30 new student teachers at its training center in Liancourt. These students will graduate in July 2018 adding to the 900 + teachers and teaching assistants who have been trained by the Foundation's training centre "Centre Montessori d'Haiti" over the 31 years of the center's existence.
An English camp took place at the Foundation's training center from 8th to 25 August. The children were introduced to the English language by doing fun activities such as learning the "electric slide" line dance and counting the steps in English. All the activities such as learning songs, doing craft activities and looking at English DVD's allowed the 25 children who attended the camp to learn English in a more natural and intuitive way, as opposed to learning verbs and grammar.
In-service training for Montessori teachers
End of July 2017
The Center hosted 64 teachers from 19 Montessori schools around Haiti for the annual in-service training this month. These teachers were all trained by us over the years.These in-service seminars are always very popular with our teachers, both to learn new classroom tools and to see old friends from their graduating classes again. Many more enthusiastic teachers traveled to the Center for this year’s seminar than were registered. Since the campus only has sleeping accommodation for 40, some slept on the floor and we “poured more water in the soup” to make room for everyone. Everyone was happy to crowd in together in a good-natured atmosphere.
This year’s seminar focused on demonstrations of science experiments. The teachers learned some basic science demonstrations that they can do with children in their their classrooms to teach science concepts. Leading the training was Educateurs sans Frontiers (EsF) volunteer Anastasia Muller from Canada. Anastasia did a great job of explaining that “it was no magic but cause and effect” by explaining the science concepts, and showed the teachers exactly how to do the experiments. Simple available materials were used so that the experiments could be easily replicated in any setting.
We also introduced the teachers to the electronic white board. This interactive technology is becoming much more widespread in countries like Haiti, and could easily be used to help teach Montessori content. Junior Athénus from Haïti Futur led this session.
July-report from Liancourt, Haiti
Cheers to the 32 new Montessori teachers who celebrated their graduation on July 15th, 2017 at the Peter Hesse Foundation's Teacher Training Centre in Liancourt. The occasion was marked by speeches, poetry, dance and merriment. The teachers have completed their year-long training course and are ready to begin their careers as Montessori educators. They join an active and supportive professional network of teachers around the country and a long tradition of Montessori teachers trained in Haiti by the Foundation for over 30 years. The guest of honour at the ceremony, the former Minister of Health and former Prime Minister of Haiti, Dr. Florence Duperval Guilluame, praised the graduates for their engagement for Haiti's children. Dr. Guillaume said it was time to break with the traditional and ineffective approach to teaching in Haiti based on rote memorisation and corporal punishment. She was encouraged that more new teachers are being trained in the child-centered Montessori method to help change Haiti's future.
Fruits of our Labour
Planting and caring for trees at the teacher training Center is paying off. We are already harvesting fruit and serving it in our student cafeteria, including mangoes, tropical cherries, bananas and carambola. We are also harvesting our own sugar apples, bread fruit, papaya and soursop. Our Moringa trees, whose leaves taste like spinach, are also fuller and we have been serving it in our student cafeteria for almost a year.
We continue to compost and teach our students green practices which they can replicate with children in their schools and communities. We feel proud that we are doing our part in making making Haiti cleaner and greener.
To English-speaking friends and supporters of the Peter-Hesse-Foundation - a short report from our 30-65-80-birthday invitation on 21 April - and onward.
After a short board-meeting of the Peter-Hesse-Foundation deciding on future positions on the Foundation-board, we celebrated "life as a gift - and a challenge", with 161 guests, mostly friends and supporters of our Foundation's work to train Montessori preschool-teachers in Haiti:
Successful 30 years of Montessori teacher-training (which was initiated in October 1986 by Carol Guy-James Barratt from Trinidad and me). We also celebrated Isa Hesse's 65th and my 80th birthday The guests donated € 12.175,64, which I rounded up to € 24.500,- for our EsF-AMI Montessori-project for deprived children in Haiti.
On 26 April, Carol flew back to Haiti, Isa and I travelled to Iceland to participate in the third SPIRIT OF HUMANITY Forum with almost 200 spiritually motivated participants from around the world, who are actively engaged for a better balanced fair world.
On Saturday, 29 April, I stumbled and fell with my head and body on the pavement. In the Icelandic hospital LANDSPITALI in Reykjavik, the hole in my head was cared for with nine stitches, my hips X-rayed and then my left neck of femur was operated on, fixed with two long nails, all on that same day.
On 4 May, the German Red Cross flew me back to Düsseldorf, where - after a few initial days in a hospital - I was transported home into the caring hands of Isa and physiotherapeutic home-treatments. Since that time, I am fighting the pain with heavy medication and, of course, had to cancel most planned summer-activities.
"The purpose of the Peter-Hesse-Foundation (is) to contribute to a just and peaceful learning ONE world in diversity - with emphasis on providing children a chance through child-centered early education to enable life-long learning".
This primary purpose is maintained in Haiti (and also in the Ivory Coast in Africa) under the leadership of Carol, the highly motivated directress or of the Peter-Hesse-Foundation in Haiti. The other - overarching - Foundation's purpose for "a learning world" also develops well - not in Haiti but in London:
Supported by special Foundation-grants (humble "seed-money" - since 2014 from part of my life-insurance and from Foundation board-members), the special guest at our multiple April birthday-celebration, Dr. Rupert Sheldrake works on scientifically verifying his morphic-resonance hypothesis that all is interconnected with all through learning. This research is proceeding well. As soon as results are being published in a scientifically professional way, we, the Peter-Hesse-Stiftung, willl also report about the results on our homepage www.solidarity.org and on my new personal homepage www.peter-hesse.info
Peter Hesse - May 2017
Blücherstr. 19, D-40477 Düsseldorf
P.S.: a 20-min Video on the birthday-celebration: https://youtu.be/_otSQKAdpUIDownload as pdf
Environmental Education Activity
Students visited the Wynne Farm Nature Reserve in Kenscoff and saw firsthand, composting methods, vertical planting, and different planting techniques. They also saw alternative environmentally friendly buildings, one made from Bamboo, one from recycled styrofoam plates and one from earth filled bags used in place of bricks. There were also endangered species of plants and birds.
Students in green House
Montessori-activities of the Peter-Hesse-Foundation in Jan. and Feb. 2017
A workshop for teachers to make reading materials for their classrooms was held on January 13th and 14th at the Foundation's residential training in Liancourt. The workshop was attended by teachers who started new schools as well as teachers from schools in the areas which was affected by hurricane Matthew and had to replace their water damaged materials.
The First Secretary of the German Embassy, in Haiti, Frau Stefanie Kestler, visited our teacher training center in Liancourt on 8 February. Madame Kestler expressed her satisfaction in the work being carried out by the Foundation. She has visited two of our partner preschools i n the past and appreciates the results of having well-trained teachers.
Stefanie Kestler in Liancourt
We made technical visits to three schools so far this year in Jan. + Feb.
1- Institution du Bon Pasteur, in Lasserre-commune, Croix des Bouquets a new school which opened in October 2016. The school was opened by the Kernizan family, whose sons attended the Peter Hesse Foundation's demonstration preschool 25 years ago, and are now working professionals. The family wanted the children in their area to benefit from the same education as their sons. The Foundation was happy to help them by giving furniture, and materials for the school, as well as scholarships to train their teachers.
At the institution du Bon Pasteur, in Lasserre
3- Institution Academique Irick St Cyr in Gonaives which opened in 2014
2- Institution Mixte les Soeurs Losier '''Melcar''' in Croix-deBouquets, which opened in October 2015.
On the 20th January Ecologist Jane Wynne conducted a workshop on the environment with student-teachers who are currently enrolled in the Montessori teacher training course. Jane Wynne addressed the issues of finding positive solutions to help children realize their potential influence on the environment. Student-teachers learned that it is necessary to protect the environment since environmental degradation is a critical concern in Haiti, and not only poses a serious threat to lives and livelihoods, but the widespread deforestation, particularly in the hillsides, has led to flooding, dramatic rates of soil erosion, and subsequent declines in agricultural productivity.
News from 2016
2 months after the Hurricane in Bareau, Les Cayes
"Yesterday I went to our partner school in Bereau for a modest Christmas celebration. I was truly shocked to see the appalling conditions there. House after house without their roofs, broken trees and make-shift dwellings. What I felt saddest about were the children at our Christmas celebration. Only one boy smiled during the whole thing, but all the children lacked energy and sat quietly on their chairs during the whole thing.
When I got home in the evening, my husband asked my son who went with me to Bereau, 'How was the trip?' My son replied that the children were very quiet. I could not bring myself to tell him that the children were quiet because they were hungry.
I know this is a very personal note for a web site, but I feel that I needed to share it. We can't help everyone, but we are going to buy food staples for the children and their families in the school. Most of the crops in the area were also lost so we are going to give seeds as well."
Carol Guy-James Barratt
Preparing for the school-party
Child with gift
Humble Christmas celebration
Carol informs from Haiti: Here are first details - including photos - from the recent hurricane damage to one of our project schools in Haiti:
The Montessori school in Bereau Les Cayes, has been completely destroyed. All that is left is the front part of the entrance of the school. We are thankful that no one was injured or lost their lives. We have to hold up this good thought in our hands to give ourselves courage.
New Promotion of Students 2016/2017 in the CENTRE MONTESSORI D'HAITI.
34 students enrolled in the teacher training course for the academic year 2016/17 which began in Mid October. The students will participate in both theoretical and practical activities which will allow them to qualify as Montessori pre-school teachers or Montessori classroom assistants.
We at the Peter-Hesse-Foundation-HAITI are happy to increase the number of trained teachers since more than 50% of teachers who are teaching in Haiti, lack adequate teacher training or have had no training at all.
The massive Hurricane Matthew severely battered the Southern region of Haiti, leaving thousands of people homeless and hundreds dead. The number of deaths is likely to rise as the flood water subsides and emergency workers are able to assess the extent of damages. The heavy rains and strong winds ripped the roofs of many buildings and flooded roads and farms. Many areas remain cut off. Still recovering from the earthquake of 2010, Haiti certainly did not need another disaster.
Jeremie has had the most damage and is cut off from the rest of the country because the main bridge to the Southern Peninsula has collapsed. The two Montessori schools there have extensive damage and one has completely lost its roof.
The town of Leoganne was also flooded, and one of the schools there lost part of its roof, and the second one has severe water damage. The school in Jacmel also suffered water damage.
The problems now beside food and shelter is water borne diseases such a cholera, and diseases that are carried by mosquitoes such as malaria, dengue and Zika.
Many relief agencies and non-governmental organizations are actively delivering emergency food, water and other supplies to the hardest-hit areas, but the needs will be massive. Haitian government and foreign military forces are helping with logistics and communications. We will soon share information on where people could donate help if they wish.
The Peter Hesse Foundation will try to help these damaged Montessori schools of its partner teachers to start to bring back a sense of safety and normalcy to those traumatized children.
Haiti bridge down
Haiti Port Salud
Congratulations Graduates! Another promotion of Montessori teachers prepare themselves for the task of educating Haiti’s future generation. On Saturday 9th July students celebrated their passage from students to teachers. This means that many children will benefit from a quality education during the lifetime of their careers as teachers.
In contrast to the 80 percent of teachers in Haiti who are teaching without having received any teacher training.
Astronaut visits the CENTRE MONTESSORI D'HAITI.
Students and teachers of the Montessori teacher-training centre in Liancourt, Haiti, were honoured by a visit from NASA astronaut Dr. Michael Barratt, Carol Guy-James Barratt's brother in law, who shared his experiences as an Astronaut with them.
In 2009 Dr. Barratt lived in space for a period of seven months aboard The International Space Station, a large spacecraft that orbits the Earth.
Dr Barratt made a second voyage into space as a Mission Specialist on the final flight of the Space Shuttle Discovery. One of Dr. Barratt’s most memorable moments was seeing Earth from space for the first time. He describes our planet as both “beautiful and fragile”.
ASSOCIATION MONTESSORI INTERNATIONALE (AMI) Board-Member Guadalupe Borbolla visited Haïti.
Mrs. Guadalupe Borbolla, paid a visit to the AMI Educateurs sans Frontières Montessori Project of the Peter-Hesse-Foundation in Haiti, to get first-hand impressions of the quality of Montessori education for both the teacher training program and the children's houses. During her visit - from the 19th to the 23rd January 2016 - Mrs. Borbolla visited three children's houses of our Haitian partners, our former student-teachers, and sat in on two teacher training sessions at the Centre Montessori d'Haiti in Liancourt, Artibonite.
As an ESF project we will continue in our efforts to bring quality Montessori education to Haiti's children.
Carol Guy-James Barratt, Montessori-Director and Partner of the Peter-Hesse-Foundation in Haïti
News from 2015
Short progress-report from the CENTRE MONTESSORI D'HAITI in Liancourt, Haiti, November 2015.
Each year the number of children who receive high quality education increases as we train more teachers and open more schools. Today I visited a school in Croix-des-Bouquets which was started by a teacher who graduated our training programme in July of this year. She started the school with 35 children in October 2015. She is expecting this number to grow next year. The new children will be taught by teachers who is currently in the new promotion of student-teachers which began in September. We look forward to the graduation of the new teachers in July 2016 when they will take their place among teachers who are already trained, and working, to spread quality education to Haiti's at-risk children.
Student teachers practise to work with didactical materials
Children in open air cafeteria on world environment day
Green progress in the CENTRE MONTESSORI D’HAITI
Photo-Documentation of the progress in the CENTRE MONTESSORI D'HAITI in Liancourt.
Left sides: center opening on 7 December 2012 / right sides: beginning 2015.
Water tower 2012
Water tower 2015
Teacher's house 2012
Teacher's house 2015
classrooms, Dorms and back gate 2012
classrooms, Dorms and back gate 2015
In front of 1st classroom 2012
In front of 1st classroom 2015
Inside dorm 2012
Inside dorm 2015
GRADUATES FOR THE ACADEMIC YEAR 2014/2015
Twenty-seven student-teachers graduated the Montessori programme for the academic year 2014/2015. The graduation ceremony took place on the 11th July 2015. We are projecting that over 500 more children will benefit from a better quality of instruction from the newly graduated teachers in the coming academic year.
ANNUAL IN-SERVICE TRAINING
Our yearly in-service training started on the 20th July and took place over a period of two weeks during the school vacation. The training toook place at our residential training center in Liancourt.
Thirty-eight teachers from twelve schools in respective parts of Haiti - Jérémie, Carrefour Feuilles, Tabarre, Gonaïves, Leogane, Kenscoff, Santo, Maïs Gate, Bois d'Avril and Liancourt - attended the training.
This year the emphasis was on language. The teachers were taught how to make the language materials, which they will take them back to their classrooms. A combined effective of 1217 children will benefit from the language materials which the teachers will take back to their schools.
An advanced Math seminar also took place over the two week period. It was conducted by Patricia Gwin, Association Montessori Internationale trained. Mrs Gwin has been coming to Haiti to conduct a series of seminars for teachers during the school vacation periods
World Environment Day 2015
The Centre Montessori d'Haiti marked World Environment by teaching children about gardening in small spaces. The information was presented to the children by the current student teachers who have themselves planted the gardens as a part of their internship. The children got to experience the joy of harvesting a number of fruit and vegetables such as beetroots, lettuce, peanuts, sweet peppers etc. The student teachers replicate these gardens when they start teaching in their own schools.
Basic commitment and key-purpose of the Peter-Hesse-Foundation:
Regionally and globally the learning- and teaching-process must be radically improved. Good quality Education for All is a universal human right.
The human process of learning starts very early in life and must be child-centered. The children's individualities and their creativity must be respected. This is costly - and therefore remains a dream today. It is, however, a vision which could be realized. Such new/improved learning must and will enable tolerance, solidarity and compassion in our "ONE world in diversity". This will also enhance humanity's collective consciousness.
Such improvements in learning and teaching correspond directly with the answers which I had received in 1989 when asking, what is my / what is our life's purpose: "The whole (ALL) must grow/develop through learning".
Peter Hesse - January 19, 2015
Documenting the results of the fifth donated work-camp of a group of German building volunteers in their 2015 Easter-vacation.
Short video from the final work of German volunteers in Liancourt, Haiti, in their Easter holidays 2015
UPDATE from HAITI - April 2015:
The Peter-Hesse-Foundation continues to implement programs to improve the quality of early childhood education for at risk children in Haiti by training teachers at our residential training center in Liancourt, Artibonite, by establishing preschools in different parts of Haiti for qualified teachers who graduated from our training centre, by providing technical assistance to the preschools established by our graduate teachers and by providing in-service training for preschool teachers at our training centre in Liancourt.
Our teaching training center, "CENTRE MONTESSORI D'HAITI" in Liancourt is currently training a promotion of 27 Montessori student teachers. These student teachers would complete their training in July 2015. We are projecting that over 500 children will benefit from a better quality of instruction from the newly trained teachers in the coming academic year.
This academic year the Peter Hesse Foundation helped to set-up new Montessori programs in two schools in Goanives with an effective of 110 children in both programs, adding to the network of preschools which were assisted by the Foundation that benefit an average of over 3845 children yearly.
The Foundation held in-service training seminars for cultural subjects and Math as well as workshops for teachers to make their own materials. Thanks to our completed dorms we were able to accommodate teachers from 12 existing Montessori schools, in addition to the student-teachers who live at the training centre.
We also made site visits to 5 existing Montessori schools to provide technical assistance and to assure the quality of education in those schools which have a combined effective of 249 children.
We are keeping the promise to be environmentally friendly, by greening our teacher training center and implementing activities that make a positive difference in protecting the environment. Student teachers learn that it is their social responsibility to protect and care for the environment essential to our health, quality of life and survival. All student teachers are required to plant and to produce an environmental album with activities that they can implement with children in their schools when they become teachers.
This year we proudly raised one month of running costs of the teacher training center by renting the dining pavilion and other parts of the premises to small organizations in the surrounding areas for their own seminars and events. We hope that that we can increase the amount of clients next year. This is a baby step in self sustainability. We hope in the future that the center can fund itself in part.
News from 2014
Making a Difference? Carol reports from Haiti in November 2014
There are moments in Haiti where I feel that I could totally give up. Moments when I wonder if I am making a difference. The drive from Port-au-Prince to Liancourt is evidence of everything that is wrong. There is garbage on the sides of the road, the smell of hot oil and charcoal fires permeates the air, as roadside vendors continue to use wood or charcoal to prepare food, adding to further deforestation by cutting trees for fuel.
As I drive along the road weaving in and out of the heavy and totally unruly traffic, glad that the car is air conditioned, and I do not have to breath in the black smoke coming out of the exhaust pipes of most cars, I can't help but notice the amount of children on the streets who are engaged in some kind of work such as carrying buckets of water, washing cars, vending, or just begging. I feel overwhelmed.
Three hours later, I arrive at the Centre Montessori d'Haiti and my despair begins to wear off as I enter the gates of a very different environment. I have a meeting with the staff. We plan the syllabus for the school year, and afterwards the conversation turns to the earthquake and the hurdles involved in building the centre. On of the teachers talk about how much the trees that we planted have grown. "Let's take a picture".
She stands next to the citrus trees, and I take a picture. My frustration diminishes some more.
Citrus trees in May 2013
Citrus trees in November 2014
The next morning, I awake, and the student-teachers are watering the plants.
I breathe a sigh of relief knowing that these environmentally friendly practices would be passed on to the children they will teach.
Later on that day I drive to Gonaives to visit the two new schools that started this year October 2014.
I see the children working and I am humbled, and I think "Those little ones are like the trees. It will take some time, but we will eventually see the results."
I reminded myself that this year alone we have added 103 new children to the programme.
I guess we can't solve all the problems, but we can help to make a difference in the lives of many.
Thirty-one students are currently training at the CENTRE MONTESSORI D'HAITI in Liancourt to become Montessori teachers. We take pride in each additional teacher trained, since it means more children will benefit from quality education and a chance for a better future.
103 new children will benefit from MONTESSORI education this year.
Carol Guy-James Barratt reports from Haiti :
On Friday 19th September, I was happy to visit two schools in Gonaives, to help them to plan for starting their Montessori programs. Between these two schools, a total of 103 children will attend - one more victory, since teachers from both schools were trained in Liancourt. Not only have these young women found jobs, they can change the future of 103 children this year alone, and in many more years to come.
Graduating class of 2014 in the CENTRE MONTESSORI D'HAITI:
Graduates of our reopened Montessori teacher-training center in Liancourt; Haiti celebrated their achievement with family and friends on Saturday 2 August, 2014.
We expect that these new teachers will provide quality education to approximately 400 children in the coming school year. It was an emotional moment at the end, when the graduates had to say goodbye to each other. After one year of living at the Montessori centre they will now return to their respective towns and villages, some to work in existing schools, some to start new Montessori classes.
August 2014 – In-service training in Liancourt, Haiti.
Montessori teachers make materials and plan activities for their schools.
15 Haitian teachers from 9 schools attended a two week In-service training held at the CENTRE MONTESSORI D'HAITI in Liancourt by Carol Guy-James Barratt, assisted by a US-volunteer. We were especially glad to have teachers from the two schools in Leogane. Their schools are almost back to normal after being completely destroyed by the earthquake. Also attending were teachers from Mais Gate, Croix des Bouquets and Jacmel, as well as teachers from the two schools in the Liancourt area. In September 2014 there will be two new Montessori programs starting in Gonaives. The teachers who are going to teach in these new schools were also present. The teachers made language materials and planned activities for their classes starting in September 2014 as part of their In-service training.
News from 2012/2013
The Montessori development in Haiti
– an overview – a short summary of the Montessori development since our first training year in 1986/87 – and a letter from a former preschool child, now a student in France – from the book VISION WORKS..., 2008, by Peter Hesse, pages 122 to 132.
4 pages PDF
Activities of the Peter-Hesse-Foundation in 2013 in Haiti
The year 2013 started with a positive note as our new training centre finally opened for classes after 3 year of struggling to rebuild after the earthquake.
With your help we accomplished the following in Haiti in 2013:
- Completed 80% of the teacher training facilities,
- began training a new promotion of students who will graduate as teachers in July 2014,
- provided meals for students,
- bought books and school supplies for the students,
- bought a laptop and printer for the office,
- held in-service training seminars for teachers who already work in schools,
- bought batteries for solar energy system to power most of the centre
- developed and made new language materials for children,
We gave various materials to schools which had been started by graduates of our centre with the assistance of the Foundation, visited schools assisted by our Foundation to evaluate the standard of instruction and children's progress. To uphold our promise to be an environmentally friendly facility, we planted over 90 trees and plants on the grounds of the training centre and we marked World Environment Day by giving 100 fruit trees to children from 4 different schools in the Artibonite.
In 2013, the "Peter-Hesse-Stiftung", the formal structure of the Peter-Hesse-Foundation in Germany, made a global commitment for child-centered Education for All (EfA) and consolidated its long-term existence and functioning.
To durably strengthen our ties with the Association Montessori Internationale (AMI), AMI's President and the association's Executive Director became two new members on our board.
On 8 February 2013 the German state-authorities for foundations formally approved a significant alteration of the statutes of the "Peter-Hesse-Stiftung" making this independent German legal structure fit to continue providing a chance for future children in our global village. Originally - on 7 December 1983 - created to serve "needy people in developing countries - preferably through help for self-help", the foundation's formal statutes are now adjusted to secure its future existence beyond the founder's lifetime. The extended, yet more focused new "purpose of the Peter-Hesse-Foundation is to contribute to a just and peaceful learning ONE world in diversity - with special emphasis on providing children a chance through child-centered early education to enable life-long learning".
On 7 December 2013 we celebrated 30 years of helping to make a better life for Haiti's less fortunate children.
7 December 2013 - 30 years of helping to make a better life for Haiti's less fortunate.
On 7th December 2013 the Peter Hesse Foundation celebrated 30 years of helping to make a better life for Haiti's less fortunate. This year, with the financial assistance of a small group of faithful friends and donators, we were able to relaunch the teacher training program in the new centre that was built to replace the one that was destroyed in the earthquake.
In the last 30 years, the Foundation provided better education to over 40,000 of Haiti's poorest children. More than 1000 young women were trained as teachers in our program and were able to get jobs as a result of it. After 30 years we are still as committed as ever to educating Haiti's future generations. We believe that children in Haiti can have a chance at a better life if they receive an education which teaches them to be better citizens and find employment as adults. For this, they need better qualified teachers who can help them succeed. Training teachers is important. We still have to complete the training centre to be fully functional. Two of the four dormitories are now complete, but some other buildings still need plumbing and electrical work. We are in the process of putting in a walking path to solve the problem of dirt that filters into the dorms, classrooms and cafeteria. We also need to augment the number of batteries for collecting solar energy.
Even with the continued support of the Peter Hesse Foundation from Germany, it costs $4,000 to train a new teacher for one year to meet international Montessori standards. You can help by making a small contribution towards training a teacher, who will give many needy children the chance for a better education and help breaking the cycle of poverty. You can also donate towards completing the training centre, or sponsor a specific portion of the work to help us accommodate more student teachers.
We look forward to your support in transforming lives in Haiti. No effort is too big or too small to contribute towards changing the lives of children for a better and more peaceful world.
News from Liancourt since June/July 2013:
775 children will already receive a higher quality of education this academic year.
31 teachers benefit from the teacher training facilities since it was inaugurated in December 2012. The group consists of student-teachers who are pursuing the Diploma course, as well as a certificate course. Attending teachers came from: Gonaives, Leogane, Jacmel, Kenscoff, Tabarre, and Marchand Dessalines. When schools resume in September 2013, after the summer vacation, these teachers will go back to their respective towns to teach. This means that 775 children will already receive a higher quality of education due to the training of their teachers.
We still have a list of things to do to complete the building in it's entirety. Two of the dorms are now complete. Two are unfinished on the inside. One of them is liveable but has no ceiling or tiles on the floor. We also have to install toilets for the two Dorms. We have no electrical installation in the office and no lights in the cafeteria. We are in the process of putting in a walking path to solve the problem of dirt that filters into the dorms, classrooms and cafeteria.
First ready-to use dormitory and Montessori workroom in the CENTRE MONTESSORI D'HAITI
Now almost all our accumulated funds are being used for building this vital part of our Haitian Montessori project. We hope to be able to restart our teacher-training in Liancourt as soon as additional funds will become available.
Walls of dormitories finished.
Students from the "Berufskolleg Kempen" vocational school in Germany made a second visit to Haiti in their continuing support to build a new teacher training center in the small town of Liancourt to replace the one that was destroyed in the 2010 earthquake. So far two groups of young men who said "We do not have money but we can build" have given-up their school vacation to work on the construction. The first group succeeded in building the foundations for 9 buildings of the campus during the 2011 Easter vacation. The second group worked from 13th to 31st October 2011. They worked on the sanitary installations and added the walls to 8 of the foundations, especially to the dormitories.
We are working to raise enough money to complete the roof during the Easter holidays 2012 when a third group of students will go to Haiti to continue building the training halls and the water supply-connections. Rotary has promised to drill the needed well. We still need financing for basic furnishings of the buildings and for the needed solar power to finally start the formation of new teachers in the fall of 2012.
Peter Hesse, Early in November 2011
In Haiti, work to build the Montessori teacher training center continues.
The sanitary units are being prepared and the drilling of a water well is now firmly planned. The German volunteers, who had already prepared the ground for the houses of the training center in Liancourt in April, are in full preparation for their second building trip to Haiti. The group from the Kempen "Berufskolleg" (comprehensive college) will work again together with local Haitians in the second part of October 2011 to continue building as much as possible in the framework of their donated holiday time and of our limited financial resources
Peter Hesse, 23. August 2011
Teacher training begins - July 2011
22 students began training to be teachers in Liancourt in July. The course is using one of the preschool buildings while the children are on summer break. Training will continue in the afternoons when the preschool reconvenes in September. We are continuing to build the new teacher training center bit by bit as funds become available. We are looking forward to the return of the volunteers from Kempen to Haiti in October. They will continue construction on the new teacher training center that they started in April 2011.
Since the earthquake in January 2010, millions of dollars in emergency aid have helped rebuild brick and mortar structures around Haiti, including some school buildings. But little support has been given to improving teacher skills as a critical element in the success of a school. We believe the efforts of rebuilding schools should include sustainable approaches to improving the quality of education.
German building volunteers with local Haitians preparing the ground of our new training center in Liancourt, Haiti, during the Easter holidays 2011.
Short Film in English – preparing the ground in Liancourt.
Carol reporting from Haiti – 27 April 2011
Students build for teachers in Haiti
Students from the vocational school in Kempen, after seeing the devastation caused by the earthquake in Haiti, knew they had to do something to help. "We do not have money but we can build" they said. They put their words into action and gave up their Easter vacation to construct the foundations for buildings that would become a center for training teachers when it is completed. Seven students accompanied by four teachers stayed at a school in Liancourt, a short walk away from the building site. They slept on the floor and braved the lack of water and electricity for three weeks. Dispite the short timeframe they were able to complete their goal by working long hours, sometimes working by flashlight and the headlights from a car.
Ben working, Haitians watching
Johann and Sinan from Kempen
Commitment to rebuilding! – In spite of...
In spite of the financial, administrative and political hurdles, we are going to begin the rebuilding of our teacher training center that was destroyed in the earthquake. We do not yet have all the funds to complete the building, but we will begin with what we have. It has been over a year since the earthquake and it is time for the Haitian people to move forward. To wait, until all necessary means are available and all political as well as administrative hurdles will be overcome, is not acceptable in view of the suffering people of Haiti – specially their children.
The groundwork for the center will begin in April 2011 by volunteers from the “Berufskolleg Kempen”, a vocational school in Germany. In February 2011 a team from the German volunteer initiative, Pastor Roland Kuehne, architect Benno Friebe and construction-engineer Thomas Brux visited Haiti to make an evaluation of the ground and to calculate the materials and equipment needed for the initial phase. This is a start!
We still need 1.200.000, - US $ to be able to complete the building. We will continue to build in phases as funds become available. Here again the account of the Peter-Hesse-Foundation with the Commerzbank Duesseldorf, Germany, for international donations:
IBAN: DE14 3004 0000 0315 6080 00 – BIC: COBADEFFXXX
Peter-Hesse-Foundation, Haiti – 18 March, 2011
Architect Benno Friebe and Pastor Roland Kuehne (r.) with local Haitians on our building ground in Liancourt, Haiti
Haiti report 10 months after the earthquake.
The Foundation's immediate goal after the devastating earthquake in Haiti which killed more than 230,000 and left over a million homeless was to help our teachers and children overcome this unexpected and frightening experience and continue their life with some kind of normality. Our next goal was to restart Montessori teacher training.
Immediately after the earthquake we were faced with the situation of children who were on the streets and teachers who had lost their homes and their jobs. The Foundation's immediate response was to make arrangements to house 20 teachers and their extended families in one of our partner schools outside the earthquake zone and to give funds to cover a five month period. In addition staple food such as rice, beans, oil, canned fish etc. as well as detergents, soap and blankets were provided by our German partner, Agro Action Allemande (Welthungerhilfe).
Tents and shelters made from plastic sheeting and plywood were constructed in the affected areas as a temporary replacement for the preschools that were lost. In the meantime more permanent structures have been put in place for 3 of the 4 preschools which were destroyed. Most of the didactical materials were replaced, and these schools are now able to function normally. Preventing the Cholera to affect our preschool children and their teachers became an additional challenge, as reported before.
Unfortunately, we still do not have a teacher training center to replace the destroyed center in Port-au-Prince. The student-teachers who were unable to finish the course were given "Attestations" stating that they did attend the teacher training course, but could not finish. Because of the shortage of teachers, many of them were able to find jobs with the "Attestations". In Jacmel 20 teachers were, however, able to complete their training in a tent. In January 2011, a new "mobile" teacher training course will begin in Les Cayes for teachers from that area.
The Foundation continues to work on an improved permanent solution to restart Montessori teacher training. A training center with dormitories to house 40 student teachers from different parts of Haiti will be constructed in Liancourt. Successful students with limited economic resources will be financially supported by the Peter-Hesse-Foundation to open their own schools. This will benefit children in different parts of the country when the trained teachers open schools in their villages and towns. We have identified land in Liancourt where the new center will be built. Progress is slow due to financial constraints, as well as bureaucratic and construction constraints in Haiti. Building this envisaged new center (see drawing below) was and remains, however, the Foundations main goal.
Peter Hesse, 15 November 2010
The revised architectural concept fort the new teacher-training center in Liancourt, Haiti.
Remaking Montessori materials which were lost in the earthquake.
65 per cent of all language materials and for other cultural subjects are made by the teachers themselves out of simple materials. On October 23, 27 and 29, Carol Barratt held a special workshop for teachers to re-create some of these teaching materials that were lost in the earthquake while preparations for the rebuilding of the destroyed teacher training center are in full progress in Haiti.
Carol reports from Haiti - 30 September 2010:
Our teachers in the Artibonite area held special sessions to teach the children and their parents how to protect themselves and prevent the spread of Cholera in their community. This included simple measures such as the proper way to wash hands and disinfect water with chlorine bleach. The Government initially did not recognize what was causing the outbreak of illness in the area, but later identified it as cholera. As a precaution we closed schools for a few days to keep children from potentially spreading the disease among themselves. We then disinfected the schools, reopened and started prevention education to children and their families. We are contuning to educate parents and children at schools in other parts of the country on the ways that they can help to prevent the spread of Cholera.
The Peter Hesse Foundation continues to support Montessori education.
Carol reports from Haiti:
In preparation for the start of the new school year the Peter Hesse Foundation replaced most of the Montessori materials and furniture for the preschools that were damaged in the earthquake. Some of the schools are now partially rebuilt allowing the children to attend school. We hope to help the teachers to complete their buildings as funds become available.
Carol giving Montessori materials to Tammar for her school in Leogane.
Despite the nerve-wracking 4.4 tremor that shook Jacmel last week, the 20 student-teachers who followed the Montessori course there, graduated in a touching ceremony with singing and prayers and thanking God for sparing their lives. (For me this was a personal lesson in optimism and resilience). Because of the destruction of the teacher training center in Port au Prince, teacher training still remains a challenge. We are currently trying to find a solution for continuing to train teachers so that they can in turn provide quality education to Haiti's future generation. 30. September 2010
16 of 20 graduates and the teacher-trainer Hélìana Charles at graduation ceremony in Jacmel on 26 September 2010
Progress in Liancourt and a successful end of the school year for children in the 4 destroyed Montessori project preschools.
In makeshift classrooms made from plywood and plastic sheeting our teachers were able to finish the school year at the end of July 2010 in all project preschools destroyed by the January earthquake - here photos from Jacmel and Léogane, taken by Carol Guy-James Barratt during her recent trip to Haiti:
We continue working on an improved permanent solution to restart Montessori teacher training. We have identified land in Liancourt (below), where the new center will be built. Progress is slow due to bureaucratic and construction constraints in Haiti.
The center will house 40 student teachers from different parts of Haiti and will help to solve the problem of decentralization that will in turn benefit children in different parts of the country when the trained teachers return to their villages and towns. The training center will also enroll students from the surrounding areas who will not live in the center's dormitories. After their studies, successful students with limited economic resources will be financially supported by the Peter-Hesse-Foundation to open their own schools.
In Jacmel our "mobile" teacher training continues - in a tent, to allow student teachers there to catch up with the course work that they missed after the earthquake.
Unfortunately the 41 student teachers enrolled at the main center that was destroyed in Port-au-Prince do not have that opportunity at this time. Preparations for the permanent solution in Liancourt are under way since our team-visit in February 2010.
The Peter-Hesse-Foundation values teacher training as an important component that will determine the success of Haiti's future generation. Considering that 57 % of teachers in Haiti have less than high-school-level education, and only 0.9% have any kind of teaching diploma, shows the gravity of the situation.
Peter Hesse, 10 August 2010
6 month after
the first devastating earthquake in Haiti we continue working on an improved permanent solution to restart Montessori teacher training.
Green building for a new teacher training center in Haiti.
The earthquake in January 2010 destroyed four of our Montessori schools and our Montessori teacher training center. Since then, our children have been attending school in tents and shelters made from plastic sheeting and scrap materials. Unfortunately, our teachers could not continue their training since we do not have a suitable place for them to do so.
We are now working to relaunch the Foundation’s teacher training program, but we need help to do so. We want to build earthquake resistant and energy-saving buildings which are ecologically friendly. We will use simple methods to conserve water and minimize the center’s ecological footprint in the community. We hope to begin the water and sewage component for the new teacher training center by the end of July 2010.
The new center will train teachers to provide a safe environment where children can recover from their psychological trauma and help them develop skills for lifelong learning. This center will also expose teachers to practical environmentally friendly changes that they can pass on to their communities and to the next generation.
Our vision is to build permanent structures for the preschools that were destroyed and to extend the Montessori pre-school service to parts of Haiti where over a million refugees from Port-au-Prince have found improvised shelters and where children most urgently need help - and an environment to heal and learn.
Carol Guy-James Barratt – early in July 2010
6 weeks after the earthquake
a Peter-Hesse-Foundation team and a TV-film crew travelled to Haiti to document what was destroyed, to support our local partners, 20 Montessori teachers, who were directly affected by the earthquake and to plan the reconstruction of the 4 project preschools as well as the new beginning of the teacher training in a safer place. This trip and the resulting documentary were fully donated by the family of our board-member Dr. med. Sabine Uhlen. The 37-minute German TV-document can be viewed here: – or at: http://vimeo.com/12889725 - or (“hier: Langfassung Hauptfim” and some interviews) at: www.solidarityhaiti.de.vu
A short 9.5 minute YouTube version in English can be seen right here below: -
(English YouTube film)
These are the first drawings of our envisaged new Montessori teacher training center in Liancourt, near St. Marc, Haiti - near our two existing Liancourt project schools, to assure the most important practical training possibilities. The simple, but efficient boarding-school will need a cement surface space of about 20 x 16 meter. Toilets and washrooms will be separate from this building. Not all planned detailes are visible in these drawings. Since prices will have to be negociated with the suitable building company, based in the Dominican Republic, we do not yet know, whether we will be able to fully finannce this most important structure for the 40 student teachers and to what extend we can go ahead to materialize the next priorities: new or repaired houses for the the 4 destroyed project schools, 2 each in Port-au Prince and in Leogane. We will keep you informed.
Peter Hesse - 18. April 2010
Montessori in Haiti and Côte d'Ivoire - 9 March 2010
Carol Guy-James Barratt, the Foundation's Montessori project-coordinator, will be in our Montessori teacher training center in Côte d'Ivoire from 20.3.10 to the end of March. She will be accompanied by Willande Dorlus-Antoine, one of our Haitian teachers. Willande will spend the next three months in the Ivory Coast, training the African students who are working towards their Montessori diplomas.
Before the earthquake Willande worked in the Montessori school in Kenskoff. She also assisted in the teacher training center in Rue Clermont, and attended Quisqueya University, pursuing a bachelor-degree in education - a study paid for by the Foundation. She has one year in which to complete her degree, after which time she would teach Montessori education courses at the University. These courses will be offered as a major in the education degree program at the University thus fulfilling the Foundation's long-term strategy to reinforce Montessori teaching in Haiti.
In Haiti children and students still hesitate to attend schools and universities - even in undestroyed houses - due to frequent tremors. To continue training Montessori preschool teachers in Haiti as soon as possible, we are working on the urgent need to provide a home for Montessori teacher students in Liancourt in the countryside and to replace damaged project preschools and teachers' homes in the earthquake-area.
I can now gladly call potential supporters in Europe in the USA by phone, if I receive your numbers.
First Photos from our Haiti visit - 20 to 27 February 2010
Kirche (church) in Leogane
auch (also) in Leogane
Tankstelle (gas station)
Rouine with child
Resteverwertung (search for usables)
Dennoch aktiv (actice eventhough)
Palast Zelte (Palace tents)
städt. Zelt (urban tent)
ohne Worte (without words)
ländl. Zeltlager (rural tents)
School in Leogane
Montessori in Leogane
zu erneuern (to replace)
Carol + 2 Lehrer (teacher)
Carol + Lehrer (teacher)
in ex Montessori preschool
outside ex Montessori school
Montessori training center P.-au-P.
P. Hesse traurig (sad)
Montessori in Liancourt
Medizin for Liancourt school
Das Lernen geht weiter
Learning continues in Haiti
Montessori hat Erfolg - succeeds
A film will proove it dennoch
Back from Haiti - 1 March 2010:
It is incredible to imagine that in a few minutes you can become jobless and homeless. That you can loose friends and family members, that your life as you know it can change completely. In a few minutes all can be taken away. On Tuesday 12th January at 16:53 local time this was the fate of over one million people in Haiti.
Many of our Haitian teachers are in this position. They had to walk away from their destroyed houses with only the clothes that they were wearing. The fate is the same for many children attending our schools as well as their parents. They along with thousands of people are still sleeping in the streets, on pavements, in their cars, or in makeshift tent-shanties because their houses have been destroyed.
Besides the enormous stress of trying to survive in makeshift conditions with no water and sanitation, people also have to deal with the aftershocks and the fear they bring with them. Since the big earthquake 52 aftershocks measuring 4.5 or greater have been recorded, and many smaller quakes are still occurring.
Our Peter-Hesse-Foundation team of 5 people visited Haiti from 20 to 27 February. We experienced 4 aftershocks while we were there and cannot imagine how people are living through this!
We saw for ourselves the magnitude of the disaster. Rubble everywhere where houses used to stand. We lost four schools and our teaching training center to the earthquake. 75 percent of schools in the capital are now destroyed, hundreds of teachers still remain unaccounted for, and thousands of children are on the streets.
People who have relatives or friends outside of the destroyed areas are now depending on them for accommodation. 19 of our teachers and their families who lost their homes are now staying at our school in Liancourt in the countryside outside of Port-au-Prince. The Peter-Hesse-Foundation team spent two days there talking with them to decide what is the best way to help them get their lives back.
The immediate need for food is solved through a donation of the German NGO "Welthungerhilfe" (Agro Action Allemande), who cooperates with us in solidarity by giving staple foodstuff such as rice, beans, oil, canned fish etc. Temporary shelter was provided by us through a big tent from Germany and by our local Haitian partners. We brought cash that will cover a five month period. The next step is to solve the problem of joblessness and homelessness.
Our plan is to reopen schools, relaunch the teacher training program and find permanent housing for the teachers who have lost their homes. This will be done gradually. The first step will be the construction of a teacher training center with attached dormitories which will house 40 persons in the Liancourt countryside. The next step will be to construct schools with attached living quarters for teachers who are affected by the earthquake. This will give teachers back their homes and their jobs and give children a nurturing place where they can begin to deal with the trauma they have suffered.
Our vision is to extend the Montessori pre-school service to hot spots in parts of Haiti where over a million refugees from Port-au-Prince have found improvised shelters and where children most urgently need help - and an environment to heal and learn.
Before leaving for Haiti - 16.2.2010
First photo - below - from former Montessori teacher training centre in Port-au-Prince, destroyed in the earthquake and photo of trainers and teachers in front of the centre in 2004.
In the afternoon of 12 January, the centre was closed because Naomi, our head-trainer went to the burial of the first child from her own Montessori pre-school. Otherwise, many students of the afternoon training course would most likely have died in the sudden earthquake.
If we can get to Haiti as planned on Saturday, 20 February, we will have to first reorganize the teacher-training in the countryside away from Port-au-Prince to soon be able again to offer Montessori pre-schools to the traumatized and deprived children.
- Peter Hesse - 16.2.2010
Schools considered high priority in Haiti. - 2 February, 2010
In Haiti's struggle to return to some normality and to heal the wounds caused by the earthquake, school is now considered a high priority. Children living in the streets and in provisional tent-settlements are traumatized and lost in this unprotected environment. Schools could give them at least some feeling of being cared for - say Haitian education officials.
Early care and education, as provided for deprived children through Montessori pre-schools, initiated by Haitian civil society groups with the support of the Peter-Hesse-Foundation had created islands of hope in Haiti.
In the areas affected by the earthquake, schools are destroyed. Surviving teachers from destroyed schools are now staying with the foundation's Montessori teacher-trainers in Liancourt near St. Marc, outside of Port-au-Prince, in one larger Montessori country pre-school.
For new Montessori pre-schools, especially for earthquake victims among Haiti's children, more teachers are needed. Therefore former Montessori teacher-students with only an "assistant"-diploma will be called to join the Liancourt provisional centre to be trained in a concentrated course, led by the foundation's Montessori directress Carol Guy-James Barratt from Trinidad.
The next step will be to fund new beginnings. In view of the huge needs in this unfortunate country, funding will create new challenges. Montessorians and other friends in the world are most welcome to be part of this challenge.
Peter-Hesse-Foundation SOLIDARITY IN PARTNERSHIP for ONE world in diversity.
Are the Montessori-projects of the Peter-Hesse-Foundation for deprived
kids in Haiti worth supporting?
AMI-president André Roberfroid wrote in the preface of Peter Hesse's book "VISION WORKS. From vision to reality. From Haiti to ONE world in diversity." (ISBN 978-3-9811650-2-9):
"In the slums of Haiti, at the end of the 20th century, Peter Hesse came to a conclusion exactly similar to that of Maria Montessori in the poor suburbs of Rome at the beginning of the century. As the President of the Association Montessori Internationale, I can only express my immense gratitude to Peter Hesse and to all his friends in Haiti, for giving us this marvelous example. As Maria Montessori said many times, 'the child is the agent of change'. This book is a testimony to her vision."
A new beginning for Haiti - by Peter Hesse - 27 January, 2010
from the Peter-Hesse-Foundation, working for deprived children in Haiti since 1983.
During the first 2 weeks after the devastating earthquake in Haiti, saving lives and emergency help had absolute priority. Now funds for rescue and basic needs like water, food, shelter and medical care have been collected and help is - hopefully - starting to reach the deprived people. Starting from scratch to rebuild Haiti is now the concern not only of Haitians, but also of the woken-up global community.
This provides hope for the country and especially for its children.
For a sustainable development in Haiti, giving children a chance to learn through good quality early care and education is also a basic need, a basic human right. We are engaged in early childhood development in Haiti since the creation of our Peter-Hesse-Foundation in 1983 through the training of over 800 Montessori pre-school teachers and helping to open over 50 Montessori pre-schools for deprived children - together with local initiatives - all over Haiti.
The earthquake has completely destroyed our teacher-training center in Port-au-Prince and most of our project pre-schools in the capital area as well as in Leogane. Our trainers and many of the teachers have, however, survived. We thank God for this miracle! There is still no information on the teachers and children in some of our projects in other affected areas.
We have, however, already started to assemble those teachers and our trainers in one of our larger country schools (in Liancourt) to start preparing the teachers who have lost their schools for a new beginning where it will be most urgently needed - like in some of the tent-cities around Port-au-Prince. New school-projects will start as soon as we get a clear picture on the situation. Our Montessori directress Carol Guy-James Barratt from Trinidad is waiting to get permission to fly from Trinidad to Haiti. Up to now, rescue workers as well as medical- and security-personnel and media have priority.
A TV-team around one of our foundation's board members and I already have tickets to fly to Haiti from Germany on 20 February 2010. The trip and a TV-film on the possibilities of a new beginning is fully sponsored by the team itself.
We have a clear vision of the future of our Haiti-work for deprived children:
1. To expand our Montessori pre-school network in Haiti according to parents' demands.
2. To start training Montessori primary teachers and expand into the primary sector, since there is already a great parental demand for this extension. We simply need more money to move from this vision to action.
Preferably this extension should be in harmony with a new child-centered educational concept of Haiti's future government. Montessori should influence the national educational system. This would be a model for the whole developing world. The entire formal system having collapsed with the earthquake, there is a unique chance now to leap ahead in educational quality for the good of Haiti's children and the sustainable development of Haiti.
We can only pursue this wider vision with more financial help. Our foundation is simply too small to handle this task alone. We are now looking for a solution to collect funds from outside Germany for this new beginning in Haiti which allows tax-deductible donations.
I am deeply grateful for the moral support of our Haiti-work from the USA and Great Britain.
Peter Hesse - www.solidarity.org - 27 January, 2010
22 January - First good news from Haiti
Finally some good news! The student teachers and staff of the training center were saved.
We were very worried about the students at the training center in Bois Vernat because the
earthquake coincided with the time that they would have been attending classes there.
A few days before the earthquake, a little girl, who was the first child to register to
attend the Montessori school in Liancourt ten years ago, died.
Naomie, the directrice of the training center cancelled classes on the 12th so that she could attend the funeral. Because classes were cancelled, no one was in the building when it collapsed. Although we morn the death of our first little pupil, we are glad that the lives of all our student teachers and staff of the training center were saved.
News is still coming in slowly, so far we have have heard from the teachers of 5 schools in different areas. The schools in Carrefour, and Jacmel are damaged but are still standing. Mais Gate is partly collapsed. The houses of 4 teachers completely collapsed and they are now temporarily residing at the school in Liancourt, as opposed to staying in the open streets or parks, that have now become tent cities.
We are still anxiously awaiting news about the other schools, especially the ones in the badly affected areas. Hoping that by some miracle that there are no fatalities. Hope is our comfort at the moment. We hope that people would not forget Haiti after the initial relief efforts. In a population where 60 percent of children do not go to school we hope that we have help and support to rebuild schools and provide a quality of education that will allow the next generation to sustain itself.
Haiti needs our solidarity - now more than ever.
We at the Peter Hesse Foundation are holding our breath as we wait for news of teachers and children from all of the schools that we have helped to set-up in Haiti. We are mostly concerned about the schools in Port-au-Prince and Leogane since most of this area is completely devastated. Telephone and e-mail communication is extremely limited as there is no electricity. We are relying on bits of information from the few people we could reach by telephone, Skype and e-mail who are mostly outside the capital.
So far we have been told that the teacher training center in Rue Clermont, Port-au-Prince, has crumbled. The directrice of the school, Naomi Joseph is reported to be alive. We are thankful for this. Buildings can be rebuilt...
The trainer Heliana in Jacmel is also ok, although her house is destroyed. We wait for more information hoping for the lives of our teachers and children in Port-au-Prince and in the other badly affected areas in Haiti. All we are sure of right now is that we cannot let Haiti down. We will continue to help children who need us now more than ever. We will work to rebuild and staff schools and to help families get their lives back together. We are determined to continue with even more dedication to help giving deprived children a starting chance in life.
Right now the first priority is to save lives of the survivors and to provide the basic needs: water, food, basic medical care and shelter. Building up what is destroyed and saving the Montessori system for deprived children in Haiti is already in the planning phase, which will be further developed as soon as we have more information on what happened to our Haitian teachers and trainers.
Before the earthquake, Carol and I had planned to travel to Haiti at the end of February. We were to be accompanied by our foundation's board-member, Dr. Sabine Uhlen, and a film-team. The purpose was to make a film-document on our successful Montessori work. This documentary and the whole trip were to be sponsored by the team itself. Tickets have been bought. We and the team are now even more committed and are hoping to go to Haiti as planned. Our first priority will now be to give immediate assistance to children and teachers in our schools. We are, however, still intending to also make a documentary which will be a constructive document of hope for the future of children and their educational development in Haiti.
Peter Hesse - www.solidarity.org - 17, chemin Henry Matisse, F-74600 Seynod, France
Peter-Hesse-Foundation SOLIDARITY IN PARTNERSHIP for ONE world in diversity