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The STARS Alliance, in conjunction with Mothering Across Continents and Waveplace Foundation, organized a week-long spring break experience in Haiti in March 2012. We partnered with three schools in northern rural Haiti for this program. Participating students visited these schools and provide training in computing concepts using XO laptops from the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) initiative and also helped with technology infrastructure needs of the schools and the surrounding areas.
Haiti is the poorest country in the western hemisphere and, over the past decade, has been devastated by four hurricanes and a massive earthquake that killed 250,000 people and displaced a million more. Over half the population lives on less than $1.25 per day, 80% live below the poverty line, and only one in three Haitians has a formal job. Only about half of Haitian children receive any schooling, and few attend beyond sixth grade. In rural Haiti, where the schools are located, only about half the people have access to improved drinking water, and only one in ten has access to improved sanitation facilities. While many organizations provide assistance to the people of Haiti, there is still much work left to be done.
About the Trip
Two trips were held during the first and second week of March (depending on your University's spring break). Prior to the trip, interested students participated in XO laptop training on February 3rd - 5th, and biweekly meetings designed to learn about Haitian culture and language, practice teaching skills, and participate in team building exercises.
In Haiti, the students stayed in Cap Haitien and traveled each day to the schools located approximately 1.5 hours away. Daily activities included:
- Computer training
- English language practice
- Assisting local teachers and students in creating their own curricular software for the OLPCs
- Opportunities to meet with local Haitians and visit historic sites, such as the Citadelle
The estimated cost per student was $1,500, which included lodging ($300), air fare ($800), immunizations ($200), and incidentals ($200). Full and partial scholarships were available for students who participated in the pre-trip activities.
How to Participate
As of October 2012, we do not have plans for another visit to Cap Haitian. If you are faculty and can facilitate a trip organized through your university, please contact Tiffany Barnes.
STARS Participant Schools