Below you will find fully detailed information about the project:
1. What is the actual local situation you are addressing?
Haiti is the poorest nation in the western hemisphere with only half the population being able to read and write. Less than 2% of the children finish secondary school and an estimated 19,000 children are infected with HIV/AIDS. Many of the school children suffer from childhood diseases, ranging from ringworm, sores, conjunctivitis, skin diseases to malaria. Malaria is endemic in the region and students as well as staff are constantly affected without having access to proper treatment. The cost of medication, although minimal, consists of more than half the monthly income of most families. Therefore, unless a child suffers from a grave disease, parents do not take the child to be treated. We therefore would like to establish a school infirmary which will serve both the children of the School Paradis des Indiens as well as the surrounding mountainous school areas.
The school infirmary will function as a medical and dental clinic where groups of temporary volunteer doctors, dentists and other health care providers can treat the almost 2800 school children in the area.
2. What has led you (or the organisation) to start the project?
Abricots is a small village in a county of 37,000 inhabitants. When Michelle started the first school, it was with 60 of the most destitute children between the ages of 10 to 12 years old. Many children could not attend school because their families could not afford the uniforms and shoes required by the local public and parochial schools.
Over 30 years, we have created 12 schools with 3000 students. Along with academic classes, the students receive training in manual skills, reforestation and agricultural classes. In order to provide remunerative work for the inhabitants of the region, the founders established a number of work activities including arts and crafts, embroidery, woodworking and fruit drying. We also have a continuous project to modernize the agricultural activities and the formation of green areas.
Paradis des Indiens only accepts children from families that cannot afford the public schools, which also implies that they cannot afford any medical treatment. By providing health care, it will not only improve the health of many, but it will also save lives that would otherwise have been lost due to lack of proper medical attention and prevention.
3. What do you want to achieve?
With the infirmary we want to eradicate or reduce the incidence of malaria, to treat and prevent ringworm, worms, conjunctivitis and as such reduce contamination, prevent childhood diseases, prevent tetanus by giving first aid emergency care and decrease the number of cavities and tooth loss by providing yearly dental examinations and teaching oral hygiene to students and staff.
This infirmary will not only provide daily medical assistance and first aid emergency care, but also teach Hygiene and Prevention to the students and conduct Health and Prevention seminars for the staff. Within the infirmary, we are also planning to organize volunteer doctor groups two or three times a year for dental care and to treat the more delicate cases.
Our overall mission at Foundation Paradis des Indiens is primarily to educate, but the goal is to empower the people of Abricots to achieve both financial independence and self-sufficiency through entrepreneurial development.
4. How are you going to achieve it?
We will be looking for a volunteer nurse or hire; a nurse who will function as a Hygiene/ Prevention teacher and will conduct health and prevention seminars for the students as well as the staff and parents. We are also putting together a program where volunteer doctors and dentists from Haiti, the United States, Canada, France and Belgium will come two or three times a year to provide their services. To help the doctors with their diagnostics we are also planning to install a small laboratory to conduct basic testing and train the personnel working at the lab.
5. What is your long term vision for the project?
After the infirmary in the primary school is installed and running we would like to open similar infirmaries in the key mountain schools. Each school is at least a two hours walk from the other and we hope that the children and their parents will not have to walk such long distances (four hours walk back and forth) to receive medical services.
6. How is your idea/project going to benefit the community or the situation?
By providing first aid care to the children in the schools we will prevent the spread of diseases. The students of the Paradis des Indiens school belong to the poorest of the region and this way, they will have access to medical and dental care, provided by the volunteer doctors and dentists. It is expected that the program will reduce absenteeism among students and staff and improve health in the area, which in return helps to increase their family income. We also believe that the knowledge of good hygiene and methods of prevention will lower the incidence of infection, sexually transmitted diseases and contamination.
7. Which results do you expect?
To improve health and as such improve school and work attendance by preventing/treating the students, the teachers and the parents and as a result reduce sickness and absenteeism. The new infirmary will provide services that will reduce the incidence of ringworm, conjunctivitis, worms and sores. These common infections are treatable and consequently will result in the improvement of the general health of the students and of the population at large.
8. How can you measure those results (quantifying)?
Since we have no previous records we will have to rely on teachers’ observation and the decreasing number of malaria and other infectious diseases. We will also be able to compare past records of absenteeism among children and staff before and after the establishment of the infirmary.
9. Communication, visits and feedback
How often will you be able to inform about progress and developments?
At the end of each trimester during the school year.
Who is the person responsible for communication?
Chantal Bazelais via email and telephone
Michaelle de Verteuil via email and in emergency via cell phone.
Do you accept participants visiting the project?
Yes, however for a limited time due to the lack of housing.
Which it is the best time?
When school is in session: from October to the end of June, keeping in mind the local and summer vacations.
Any requirements for visitors?
Are you planning to participate in any event (s) in the next year?
Paradis des Indiens in Abricots participates in several artisans’ shows during the year.
10. What do you expect from the Uniting People community?
Provide a volunteer school nurse or finance the salary of a local nurse and of the laboratory personnel.
Help in establishing the clinic, collecting furniture and equipment, first aid essentials, vaccination and medications and in providing the funds necessary to help the volunteer nurses, doctors and dentists defray their traveling and lodging expenses.