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
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.
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.
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
Training has started - and work continues in Haiti
Intermediary exams for the first promotion of daytime students took place on the June 8, 2013. The final Montessori exams would take place in September 2013.
Construction continues to complete the campus of the centre Montessori d'Haiti so that we can begin to train teachers from different parts of Haiti this coming October. To enable student teachers to live and study on campus we need to complete the dormitories. The dining facilities are now complete. Thanks to the German Embassy in Haiti we have just installed kitchen equipment and furniture for the open-air cafeteria.
Carol reports from Haiti - 13 April 2014
A small step towards Primary School Education
The Centre Montessori d'Haiti is currently conducting a seminar over the course of three week-ends, to introduce Montessori preschool teachers to the math materials used at the primary level. For years parents have been asking "What do we do with our children when they finish preschool?" Although our intention is to eventually open primary schools, we have other pressing matters, such as completing the teacher training center as well as continuing support to the existing Montessori preschools. The current seminar is a small step towards making the primary school a reality by preparing teachers who can teach at that level. Conducting the seminar is Mrs Patricia Gwin from the USA.
7 April 2014 – Carol is back in Haiti with 5 suitcases filled with Montessori material
Arrived in Haiti on the 7th of April with 185 pounds of luggage filled with Montessori materials. I used my AAdvantage miles to purchase a business class ticket because it enabled me to bring 3 suitcases at 50lbs each and two pieces of hand luggage. So the only cost to the Foundation was US$110 to issue the ticket. I was glad the airlines did not weigh the hand luggage! The materials will be used to introduce the Primary school math materials, which is the next step up from pre-school math.
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.
Activities of the Peter-Hesse-Foundation in 2013 in the Ivory Coast:
The Peter-Hesse-Foundation continued to support the budding Montessori community in the Ivory Coast. In 2008, the Foundation had funded the first Montessori school, with the goal of empowering cocoa growing households to increase educational opportunities, while reducing the prevalence of child labor on cocoa plantations. 23 teachers have been trained and 4 preschools have been started by the graduates.
In 2013 the Foundation purchased land for a permanent school which would improve the quality of education in the cocoa farming community and provided support to the pioneer schools.
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
World Environment Day
Carol reports from Haiti - 5 June 2013:
The CENTRE MONTESSORI D'HAITI in Liancourt, Artibonite, marked World Environment Day by giving 100 fruit trees to children from 4 different schools in the Artibonite, Haiti: Mangoes, avocado and citrus. The children were also shown how to make a fence around the plant so that goats and other grazing animals would not eat it. The trees would live for about 25 years and would not be chopped down to make fires for cooking, since they would bear fruit.
Carol reports from our Montessori teacher training campus in Liancourt - May 2013:
I am forever in wonderment that dirt could produce such wonderful things! No chemicals, nothing but water and sunshine! We have our first tomato crop, and our first bananas. Most of our trees are at least waist high. Our soursop tree surpassed all others and is is 8 feet high. Most of our trees were planted in January. Not bad for four months of growth!
Milca and Carol enthusiastic about first tomato.
This banana plant was planted during 2012. It now produces the first bananas.
Carol with growth champion producing sweet soursop fruit.
GLOBAL COMMITMENT for child-centered Education for All: The Peter-Hesse-Foundation joins the Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) in the spirit of AMI's "Educateurs sans Frontières (EsF)" - Teachers without Borders.
On 8 February 2013 the German State-authorities for Foundations have formally approved alterations of the "Peter-Hesse-Stiftung", making this independent German legal structure, created on 7 December 1983 fit for providing a chance for future children in our ONE world in diversity - mainly through the promotion of teacher-development for child-centered learning.
The Peter-Hesse-Foundation, created originally to serve "needy people in developing countries - preferably through help for self-help", had gradually altered its formal statutes to adjust it to secure its future existence beyond the founder's lifetime. The key words in such organizations are their purposes: 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".
This finally fits our working-reality in difficult political and social environments not only in Haiti and made it more reasonable to formalize the integration of the two leading functionaries of the Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) into the formal structure, the statutes of the Peter-Hesse-Foundation in Germany. A friendly and fruitful cooperation had already grown between Peter Hesse and AMI's leadership, its President André Roberfroid and its Executive Director Lynne Lawrence - in the spirit of AMI's "Educateurs sans Frontières (EsF)" - which brings Maria Montessori's philosophy and didactics to more needy populations in our global village.
The Haitian branch of the German foundation, the "Fondation-Peter-Hesse", formally accepted as a Haitian Non Governmental Organization (NGO) since 17 Nov. 1988 ("Moniteur" of 12 October 1989), had already been successfully training over 800 Haitians to be Montessori preschool teachers (for children age 3 to 6) and helping to open over 50 Montessori schools all over Haiti since 1986. From the beginning this successful engagement in Haiti - and since now several years also in Africa - has been led by Montessori Directress Carol Guy-James Barratt from Trinidad, W.I.
Since April 2013, AMI's President and Executive Director are now part of the board of the Peter-Hesse-Stiftung (Peter-Hesse-Foundation) in Germany. They bring the board membership to its limit of 5 persons - the others being Dr. Hans-Joachim Preuss as Vice Chairman, Dr. med. Sabine Uhlen a member and the founder as the board's Chairman. As long as Peter Hesse is capable and alive, he retains the Foundation's leadership.
The German structure has now joined various other foundations in the office of the "Schmitz-Stiftungen", Volmerswerter Strasse 86 in D-40221 Düsseldorf, Germany.
Carol reports on her experience in teaching Montessori in Haiti.
When the Peter-Hesse-Foundation first started Montessori education in poor communities in Haiti, it was a walk-uphill-backwards without-shoes-battle. It really was! Everything about the school system was the exact opposite to Montessori. While the Montessori teacher is the 'keeper of the environment' who is there mainly to facilitate the children's self-conducted learning process, the Haitian teacher is the ultimate authority with the right to deliver corporal punishment and verbal abuse.
The first Montessori class that I set-up in Cap Haitien was situated in an elementary school. In the classrooms around me, I would hear, at least once a day, some poor victim being called out in front of the class, and with outstretched hands, palms up, would receive blows with a whip. This was so normal, that parents doubted my ability as a teacher since I did not have a whip, and elected one of the fathers to bring me one. When I complained to a psychologist attached to the ministry of education, her Pavlovian explanation was "since Haitian children are used to being beaten, they would not take me seriously if I did not hit them".
When the Peter-Hesse-Foundation moved from Cap Haitien to the capital, one of the schools I opened there, happened to be on the same street as a traditional Haitian school. Again the difference made people wonder if my school really worked. The problem this time was they did not hear the children reciting their lessons as is the norm in Haitian schools, where knowledge is measured by how well a given text can be repeated word for word. My school was too quiet, and for the curious who looked in, the children were playing with toys! Even some of the parents of the children attending the school were concerned that their children would not learn to read since they had no books.
Their whole concept of school was challenged. Where were the benches? Where was the blackboard? What was the teacher doing, or rather not doing? Children were moving around - a virtual impossibility in a normal Haitian classroom anyway where often there are 60 children squeezed into benches that are attached to tables. Movement in this case consists of filing in and out of the benches, and going to the front of the class for punishment, or writing on the blackboard- Where were the books? Where was the whip?
Although the Foundation helped set up over 50 Montessori preschools, our story of Montessori in Haiti is far from over. In fact, after the earthquake destroyed our teacher training centre, we decided to build back a better one. We built a new teacher training campus with emphasis on renewable energy, water catchment, composting and the planting of trees. The new training center has sleeping facilities, so that teachers from different parts of Haiti can be trained and sent back to their villages to open school. This is an important venture in a country where over 60% of the population cannot read or write. It is not too late to get involved, with your help we can go a long way. You can help by volunteering, or by supporting the training of a Montessori teacher, or by making a small donation towards Montessori materials or school supplies. No effort is too big or too small to contribute towards changing the lives of children for a better an more peaceful world.
February 2013 - Carol reports from Liancourt, Haiti.
Classes for the first promotion of student-teachers began at the newly opened Centre Montessori d’Haiti teacher training campus in February of this year. One of the new and exciting changes to the curriculum is the restructuring of environmental studies to include the 6Rs of Reduce, Refuse, Recycle, Rethink, Repair, Reuse as well as solar energy, water catchment, composting and planting of trees. In the first session, led by Jane Wynne from the Wynne Farm Ecological Reserve in Kenscoff, Haiti, student-teachers discuss ways to reduce their own negative impact on the environment.
The newly built CENTRE MONTESSORI D'HAITI officially opened on 7 December 2012.
For the first time since the devastating earthquake in 2012, the Peter-Hesse-Foundation can once again train Montessori teachers in an adequate training facility.
About 60 guests attended the opening celebration - among them the German Ambassador in Haiti: H.E. Klaus-Peter Schick (left) - being greeted by Mrs. Isa Hesse, Dr. Sabine Uhlen and Peter Hesse.
Classes for daytime students will begin in this new facility this year. We hope to complete the center's residential section in the near future – funds permitting – to enable students from different parts of Haiti to live and learn in a Montessori environment. The campus has a total of 13 buildings on land purchased by the Peter-Hesse-Foundation. It is a "green" campus with the emphasis on renewable energy, water catchment, composting and the planting of trees. Although Montessori education is the main focus, we want to demonstrate to teachers, parents and visitors that a more sustainable environment is possible in Haiti.
The actual building of the campus was done by local craftsmen who were paid for their work and by voluntary students and their teachers from a "Berufskolleg" (comprehensive college) in Kempen, Germany. These students saw the destruction of the earthquake on TV and said: "We have no money – but we can build." They collected funds for their airfares to Haiti and worked on the construction of the campus during their vacations. The Peter-Hesse-Foundation used its own resources (250.000 US $) and a special donation by the founder to pay for building-material, local labor and for nourishing the volunteers. Thus, the total building became possible for less than 400.000 US $. Paying professional builders would have been costing well over 1.2 million $. Now almost all funds are spent and the Foundation needs to find money to finish mainly the fittings of the four dormitories for ten students each.
We thank all those who helped us transform our vision into reality – to give children a chance.
Peter Hesse – 7 January 2013
13 ½ minutes YouTube film on the last 3 years rebuilding the CENTRE MONTESSORI D’HAITI – until the opening ceremonies on 7 and 8 December 2012.
Photos from the inauguration of the newly built Montessori teacher training
campus CENTRE MONTESSORI D'HAITI in Liancourt, Haiti, on 7 December 2012.
CENTRE MONTESSORI D'HAITI almost ready to restart.
11 former students and teachers from our supporting German "Berufskolleg" (comprehensive school) successfully completed their last 3-week work-camp in Haiti in October 2012. Carol Guy-James Barratt, the Montessori directress and partner of the Peter-Hesse-Foundation who again served as their guide and directed the layout of the new educational campus, reports from Haiti:
Indoor plumbing and lights to follow
The Kempen volunteer group "students for teachers" have again showed their undying commitment to make the teacher-training facilities in Liancourt, Haiti, a reality by donating their labor. The volunteers spent three weeks in Haiti building the roofs of the classrooms, laying tiles, and installing the plumbing system in the buildings. They also made the buildings "electricity ready" and installed ceiling fans, lights etc. We are hoping to power the campus with solar energy in keeping with our wish to make our facility as green as possible.
More good news:
The container, full of Montessori material and basic furniture for the 4 campus-dormitories, training-houses and teachers quarters finally arrived after long delays during the overseas shipment. With the help of Haitian friends and due to German donations for their medical training center the container smoothly passed the strict Haitian customs and is ready for the installments in the campus.
We are now soon ready to restart the desperately needed teacher training in Haiti. Carol is busy with organizational needs and will again be on the building-site during November 2012 to organize final installations - especially the solar power-system.
Even though money was not sufficient and I had to dig deeply into a personal financial reserve we can now hope for even more good news soon and formally open the training center on 7 December 2012.
Good news from Haiti:
Our Container - filled with basic equipment for our new teacher training center and didactical Montessori material - has just arrived in Haiti. Now begins work to "liberate" the shipment from Haitian customs.
Carol has also returned to Haiti to prepare next week's arrival of the fourth and final German volunteer-group to help us building the new teacher training center in Liancourt, Haiti
Peter Hesse, 18 September 2012
Roofs for Teacher Trainers
3 volunteers from the "Berufskolleg Kempen" vocational school in Germany helped Haitians to build the roof on two small houses on the teacher training campus in Liancourt (see photo below). A small but necessary part in building the new teacher training center to replace the one that was destroyed in the 2010 earthquake.
These modest buildings would house the teacher trainers, who are an invaluable part of the teacher training project. To complete the project we still have the roof of the classrooms, and the building of an office and a cafeteria. With your support we are hoping to be able to finish this and begin training teachers. Without teachers schools are just buildings.
Project-equipment is on its way to Haiti
A hallelujah moment!
Finally we scraped-up enough funds to buy most of the furniture and didactical materials that we need for the new training center, and to replace materials that were lost in the 2010 earthquake, and even buy materials for 4 new preschools!
A container with Montessori materials, chairs, tables, lockers, beds is now loaded and ready to be shipped to Haiti. The shipment should arrive in August.
A heartfelt thanks to all of you who made this possible through your donations. We could not have done it without you!
We are getting there!
Little by little our teacher training campus is coming together. We have managed to reach the halfway point in building the new teacher training center to replace the one that was destroyed in the 2010 earthquake. With help from you, the donators, we have managed to purchase building materials that enabled our volunteer-builders from the "Berufskolleg Kempen" vocational school in Germany, to construct the foundations and walls for 9 buildings of the campus, the roofs of 6 buildings and install the fittings for the toilets and showers. We now have a well, donated by the Rotary Club, and a local company was hired to install a water pump, a water tank and run water lines to the buildings.
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