On October 30th 2014, our Haiti team gathered with the students of the École Argentine, their teachers and director to celebrate the opening of the second phase of the school.
École Argentine is a primary school in the Bel Air district of Port-au-Prince, which had a student population of over 1,300 students before the earthquake. Two of the major classrooms blocks were destroyed in the event, leaving only one classroom block and a utilities building standing. This left only 4 of 16 original classrooms. The existing buildings were reconfigured to provide 7 classrooms, but this solution still only serviced a small percentage of the original student population.
The second phase of construction added 4 new classrooms, some office spaces for the teachers, a kitchen and shaded cafeteria/gathering space, and a new toilet block. The new classrooms are filled with natural light and well-ventilated. The double roof enables natural ventilation in between the metal sheet, cooling air flowing through the rooms.
A local artist designed and manufactured the metal entrance doors around the theme of letters and numbers by hand. The door is a unique piece of art that stands out in the neighborhood and one that everyone is extremely proud of.
The inauguration was celebrated with the raising of the national flag while students sang the national anthem and performed dances and songs. The school director expressed his biggest gratitude to everybody involved in the school reconstruction, especially the funder, Clinton Foundation and Boeing. The Director of the Ministry of Education gave a speech to the students about the importance of education and how it offers the children a door to new and better opportunities in life.
The Haiti Rebuilding Center run by Architecture for Humanity, is the headquarters for long-term reconstruction projects in Haiti. The Rebuilding Center is a one-stop shop for design and construction services, professional training, consumer awareness, professional referrals and construction bid opportunities.