“We really felt distress and hopeless as we witnessed the destruction of the school,” explains Christine Cribb, teacher at the Montfort Institute. “We kept asking ourselves what is going to happen to the children.”
Following the January 12, 2010 earthquake that devastated Haiti and collapsed the old school building, students of the Montfort Institute for deaf and mute children were educated under makeshift tarps and tents. However, World Vision funded a new building—for over $1 million USD— so that students can focus on their studies rather than the sun, heat or other distracting elements.
“It was a dream come true,” says Christine, as she witnesses the new 24-classroom school building being inaugurated.
“From now on we no longer have to worry about wind, rainfall or even earthquakes,” confidently claims Sister Rose André Fièvre, a nun who managed the school for about 48 years on behalf of the Daughters of Wisdom Congregation, who educates the students with the help of 36 dedicated staff.
Aside from constructing a new, earthquake resistant building for the Montfort Institute, World Vision also provided appropriate furniture for the 300 students attending. Each of the 24 classrooms are equipped with desks, chairs, boards, and book shelves. The school also boasts 2 storage rooms and 4 toilet blocks.
Today, the Institute's premises in Croix-des-Bouquets include 38 classrooms and a dormitory for children and other related compartments to better serve them. It goes from Pre-K to Secondary school with a technical school.
After the 9th grade, students usually leave with a job of their choice. Girls can opt for tailoring, sewing, housekeeping, cosmetology or baking. Boys, on the other hand, most often choose carpentry, basketry, tinsmithing or tailoring.
But in 2017, eight students participated in the national exams and to the joy of their teachers all have passed. “It was a major milestone for the school, the teachers and the parents to have the children participate in national exams in the hope of going to the university,” explains Sr Lamercie Estinfort, principal at the school. Praising the dedication and enthusiasm of these students, the head of the school trusted the potential of her graduates. "It is a class that has distinguished itself," says the sister, adding that it is at the cost of constant effort that they are harvesting these roses today.
World Vision believes that all children should have improved access to quality, holistic education. Children with special needs are no exception. No other school in Haiti provides educational opportunities for deaf and mute students, so World Vision recognized the rebuilding of this school as a priority.
“Through this school we have been able to open the future to many generations. And that’s what life is all about: Helping others strive,” adds Christine. “This school has opened the eyes of the community to the fact that being deaf is not a condemnation. Today we have former students being the providers for their families. I really thank World Vision and the donors for their investment in the lives of these children.”
With 48 years of loyal service, Sister Rose-André Fièvre believes that the school must continue to serve the poorest and work for the well-being of society. "The school's objective is achieved," she explains, "when we see that our former students have a job and are appreciated by their boss. Those who have passed through our hands have started a family and are respected by all!”