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Cultivating Resources for Haiti
One of Marie Darine Dorval’s most enduring lessons from her time at Louverture Cleary School (LCS) is the responsibility of everyone to care for the environment. Now in her second year studying agronomy, thanks to a scholarship from her alma mater, Dorval hopes to improve her country through investing in its natural resources.
In primary school, Dorval explained, she learned math and French, but her education at LCS was much more. Louverture Cleary School is a Catholic, secondary boarding school located just outside of Port au Prince. Operated by The Haitian Project (THP), a U.S. non-profit organization, LCS serves academically gifted children whose parents could not otherwise afford to pay for their education. Students at LCS take classes in four languages: French, Kreyòl, English and Spanish. Although the curriculum is demanding, academics are secondary. LCS maintains a Baccalaureate (Haiti’s national exam) pass rate of 98%, but its alumni are quick to point out that the most important lessons at LCS happen outside of the classroom.
Dorval is serious, yet cheerful as she recalls her formative experiences at LCS, “They don’t only teach you basic sciences, like math, but how to be a good citizen, how to care for our environment. The staff and Volunteers taught us not to throw trash out on the street, and that we have an obligation to help one another and to help our country… LCS taught me to think seriously about Haiti’s problems.”
Lack of care for natural resources is no insignificant part of Haiti’s problems. According to the 2012 Environmental Performance Index, Haiti ranked 118 out of 132 countries profiled according to environmental factors including water quality, air pollution and agricultural development. The immediate negative health effects of air pollution, lack of safe drinking water and waste management are obvious, but they also have a far-reaching impact on the economy. Students at LCS have an acute awareness of these challenges, as well as some answers.
In stark contrast to roadsides and public spaces in Haiti, the LCS campus is clear of litter, thanks to the students’ enthusiasm for the school’s Zewo Fatra (No Trash) program. Students thoughtfully manage all waste from the school by recycling all eligible plastic bottles and metal cans, composting organic waste, reusing or burying glass, and incinerating the rest.
Dorval credits her decision to study agronomy to her LCS training in responsible waste management and LCS’s Garden Club. “Louverture Cleary taught us how to protect plants and how to organize waste. I decided to study agronomy because Haiti’s lack of infrastructure and agriculture make it difficult for our country to produce its own food, which makes it hard for some people to access it. We have the land, but it isn’t cultivated. Essentially, I decided to study agronomy so that I can help people who need food.”
Now in her third year at Haiti’s Université Quisqueya, Dorval has decided to concentrate on Aquatic Resources so that she can work to improve Haiti’s fishing industry and protect the sea from dumping. “Every country needs to protect its resources, especially Haiti,” Dorval insists. “I want to pursue a master’s degree and work to protect our seas. Today, when it rains, all the trash from the river flows into the sea. It kills the fish. We need to prevent this waste.”
Thinking back on her arrival at LCS at the age of 12, Dorval knew that she was receiving a life-changing opportunity. Even after her graduation, THP continues to impact her life by providing assistance with university tuition and money for textbooks as she works to improve her country. Through Dorval’s work and that of her fellow alumni working to change Haiti for the better, the effect of an LCS education is boundless.
Please help us continue to provide opportunities to more young men and women in Haiti and click the donate button below. Please especially forward this story to friends and family today. If just 20 people donate $70 it will provide an entire year of education to one of our students and help us meet our funding goals for the year.
The Haitian Project, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that runs a tuition free Catholic boarding school in Haiti for 360 students in order to nurture the future leaders of the country. Visit their website www.haitianproject.org for more information or donate now.