Haitians still consider it a privilege to have the opportunity to attend school, where in many other parts of the world, education is considered a human right. Families are often willing to sacrifice up to half their income to send their children to school. Haitian public schools have the capacity to serve only one quarter of the school-age population. Even before the earthquake, 25 percent of Haiti's school districts, mostly in rural areas, did not have a school. Robillard had a fine school that year thanks to St. Rose. And Fr. Andre began his assignment to Notre Dame Parish. Vocational Education Schools are practically oriented. The biggest category of vocational training is the Skill Training Centers which often do not require prior education. The vast majority of them are private, operating outside the control of the government. St. Rose supports such: Notre Dame de la Merci Vocational Center. There are two areas of skills young men and women learn-culinary arts and tailoring; a 2-year course of study and practicum. Sewing is done on treadle machines as no electricity exists in the building. Hand work is done in the doorways with bright sunlight. Training in design, creating patterns and tailoring is also practiced. Tuition is $200 per year.READ MORE
Less than 2% of Haitian school children pass the National Test at the end of grade 6. This is a reflection of the fact that the test is in French, which many children have not mastered. While listening and responding in French is used in some classrooms at Notre Dame de la Merci School in Robillard, the teacher may not be able to read and write well in French. Thus, students need more opportunities to master French by the 6th grade. Therefore, Fr. Andre has a summer school session that stresses acquisition of skills of reading and writing in French. Also, math skills are reviewed and practiced. Fr. Andre offers a meal to all those who come to summer school each day. Once that 2% of school children graduate from 6th grade, they move on to another private school or the public school in Robillard, A few take transportation to Cap-Haitien to enroll in a school. Imagine how few students graduate grade 12.READ MORE
At Notre Dame de la Merci the Preschool option and Kindergarten option enroll about 52% of the children in the area. The Primary Grades or Fundamental level makes up grades 1-6. It is mandatory that every child from age 6 to 11 go to school. Some children go to the public school or others private schools. However, the reality is only 50% go as far as 6th grade. The children drop out due to the need to take care of younger siblings. Or, because the tuition and uniforms are too expensive. Others may drop out one year and return the next year. It is not unusual for a 16 year old to be in 6th grade. A National Test is given at the end of 6th grade. In the past 7 years, EVERY CHILD in 6th grade at Notre Dame de la Merci has passed the National Test.READ MORE
Dear brothers and sisters of Saint Rose, I hope this will find all the parishioners of Saint Rose well. I am writing on behalf of all my parishioners. I want to tell you that your prayers and your financial support have made a great difference in the lives of the people of Robillard. I cannot imagine the survival of the parish of Robillard without your support. We are very grateful to you. There are a lot of things that we are grateful for:READ MORE
Imagine it is the Spring of 2003. Five Saint Rose parishioners arrive in Haiti to meet the community of Notre Dame de la Merci. There has been sporadic communication for the past ten months. No pictures have been exchanged. Most of the correspondence has been about needs under a list heading "WE HAVE NOTHING; WE NEED ANYTHING". The correspondence is full of gratitude to God and our shared faith. The 5 member team feels awe that they are on the brink of knowing God in another world very foreign to what they know. Even well-meaning family members have expressed caution about the team even going to this country known as the poorest country in the western hemisphere. Even the recommended vaccines and precautions raise warnings.READ MORE
The Haiti Committee would like to wish all of our Moms a Happy Mother's Day and to thank you for all you do. We also ask for you to think of our Mothers in Robillard today as we celebrate, and pray for them for continued peace and comfort as they care for their children. Have a wonderful day!
As we celebrate Easter with our families this year, let usremember our family in Haiti. We are so blessed in this countrywith easy access to the basic necessities of life. They struggleeveryday to meet these needs, but they have such faith in what God has promised us all through the sacrifice and resurrection of Jesus. Thank you for continuing to support our brothers and sisters in Robillard, and pleaseinclude them in your thoughts and prayers this Easter weekend. God bless!
Marion Sheehan was an energetic woman who loved serving God. In 2002, she offered to help raise the customary gift of $2000 to send to our sister parish in Haiti. Not knowing anything about the country or the sister parish, she sought info. There was little info available. But, she persisted. At a diocesan conference for women she was introduced to another "missionary" to Haiti who enthusiastically began to share her experiences in Haiti. The woman began with, "When you go to Haiti…" At that moment Marion thought, "Wait a minute, I am not GOING to Haiti." Within 4 months she was communicating with a priest at the parish Notre Dame de la Merci in Robillard, Haiti. Thus, began a ministry which to this day is going strong. In her time as leader, Marion organized fundraising to build a Clinic which is fully staffed. Other classrooms were added. Buildings were repaired and painted. Electricity was expanded from a single generator. Clear water flows from four wells.READ MORE