Established in 1988 by Haitian national, Mr. Abner Noza, GSI Haiti is a 501c(3) non-profit organization whose mission is to provide basic education and community development support to the people of Fond des Blancs, Haiti. GSI’s primary focus is operating Gethsemane School, an academic center for children in grades pre K-6.
Fond des Blancs, Haiti
The rural town of Fond des Blancs is located about 120 kilometers southwest of Port-au-Prince. Although the majority of its 50,000 residents are agricultural farmers, many of the children are malnourished due to a lack of diverse nutrient sources and proper healthcare. As a result of this chronic health issue and an often inability to pay, the nearest medical facility 40 minutes away provides little relief to those living there. With the only two public schools in the region ten kilometers away from Gethsemane School and limited in their enrollment capacity, obtaining a proper primary education is just as elusive as healthcare.
With a yearly enrollment average of over 200 students, Gethsemane School has served an impressive 2,000 children since its doors first opened nearly 25 years ago. The school has proudly committed to educating children regardless of their age, religion, or family’s ability to pay. In addition to providing its students with a nationally recognized education, Gethsemane School distributes clothing and school supplies, funds all qualifying and interested students to attend high school, and has a free school lunch program which developed through a partnership with Catholic Relief Services. The lunches provided through this program represent the largest meal of the day for most students, as well as job creation for women in the community who prepare the food.
Adult Vocational Programs
In the summer of 2012, GSI Haiti initiated three new adult programs, including continuing education, electrician, and construction classes. The electricity class quickly became the most popular, with nearly 50 students initially enrolled. All three classes are taught by local Haitian experts and not only build students’ skills and make them more marketable to potential employers, but also promote a collaborative spirit among community members. The interest is high and the structure is in place for sewing/embroidery classes and jewelry-making initiatives, but more capital investment is needed to start these ventures. Consider joining the effort to help bring more jobs to Haiti.
A Vision for the Future
While GSI programs are currently operational, additional funding is needed to help build a new facility that would improve the overall academic environment and increase enrollment capacity. The current facility is composed of several reinforced cinderblock structures and unstable, temporary roofs. The foundation for a new two-story, 19-classroom building has been laid, but funding is needed to complete it. There are plans to operate a low-cost community clinic out of the new structure as well. With hundreds of families in the area who could directly benefit from such a facility, the project is of extreme importance to the community.
In addition to providing educational services to children, GSI is committed to promoting sustainable community development in Fond des Blancs. In this vein, GSI is currently exploring partnership opportunities with both local and international organizations to introduce such highly-valued community services as agricultural development support and improved access to clean water. If you are interested in partnering with GSI to realize its vision of sustainable community development in Fond des Blancs, please contact us and/or donate today.