Slow progress on school in Haiti

By Martha Marteney - Staff Writer
South Windsor - posted Thu., Feb. 3, 2011
Cile Decker (left) listens as Paul and Elizabeth Wicks outline various options to support schools in Haiti. Photos by Martha Marteney.
Cile Decker (left) listens as Paul and Elizabeth Wicks outline various options to support schools in Haiti. Photos by Martha Marteney.

SOUTH WINDSOR - The South Windsor Haiti School team continues to move ahead in supporting education and literacy in Haiti. Formed in 2010 after the devastating earthquake in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, this volunteer group seeks to make a direct connection with a school in Haiti, which would be supported by the South Windsor community. “The focus is improving the education of the kids in Haiti,” said team member Cile Decker.
“I felt that I should help out in some way,” said South Windsor High School junior Kevin Morse, who serves as the liaison for the high school. With assistance from fellow student Dan Lazinsk, an article was run in the school newsletter and information was added to the morning announcements. “We have to get the awareness up before we can ask for funds,” said Morse. “Everyone is working for progress.”
One of the founding members of the South Windsor Haiti School team, Saud Anwar, leads the weekly meetings, providing updates on the progress of the group in Haiti. Through contacts located in Haiti, the team has investigated the purchase of four parcels of land. The problem, however, is that most land documents were destroyed in the earthquake, making it very difficult to secure clear title to any land. “The town has the capacity to sustain the school,” said Anwar. “It’s getting the land that’s the challenge.”
Because of such difficulties, the team has begun considering other options, including partnering with larger organizations, such as the Connecticut-based Save the Children, or sponsoring students at existing schools. “We have a multi-pronged approach,” explained Anwar. Another option would be to rebuild a school that was destroyed in the earthquake.
South Windsor residents Elizabeth and Paul Wicks operate The Reading Room, a non-profit organization that supports literacy in Haiti. They have provided specific information on schools with which the South Windsor Haiti School group could partner. “There’s the opportunity to put in place something that’s a lot more than the typical Haitian school,” said Paul Wicks.
On Saturday, June 11, the South Windsor Haiti School team will host a special evening with food, local celebrities and a silent auction. Nilofer Haider will serve as the coordinator of the silent auction items. Community members are invited to become involved in the planning of the event, collecting the auction items, and encouraging friends and neighbors to join the festivities.
Anyone interested in supporting these efforts are welcome to attend any of the meetings, which are held at 7 p.m. on Wednesdays. To confirm the location, contact Saud Anwar via e-mail at saud.anwar@gmail.com. For more information, visit the website at southwindsorhaitischool.org.


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