A Trade School that Saves Lives

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While in Jérémie, Haiti, in July, I visited the MUJRE Ecole professionnelle de la Grand’ Anse (MEPGA). The school is located in the Lycée St. Luc complex, a spacious facility that serves multiple purposes, including hosting a classical school and English as a Foreign Language instruction.

MEPGA appears to be laying a strong foundation for its future and the future of Jérémie, a community that is in greater need than ever, post-Hurricane Matthew. During my visit, the team-taught classes that were in session included plumbing and electrical as well as tiling and bricklaying. Carpentry is also taught at the institution. While observing, I was impressed by the high attendance numbers, attentiveness of students, and professionalism of instructors. I had an opportunity to speak to one student, Guillaume Wislin, who said, “The profession, when you hardly begin, the work is very good, and step by step you will learn more at this school. They use good methods, and practice is needed every day.” Wislin spoke with sincerity and confidence about his educational experience.

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MEPGA is a new trade school that was co-founded by a University of Nouvelle Grand’Anse graduate, Pierre Benic, and Pastor Jean Ouston Lestin. It opened after Hurricane Matthew devastated the region last October. Students, who are barely surviving, themselves, cannot afford to pay tuition to attend the institution; instead, they enter their studies with the contractual understanding that upon graduation, they must rebuild or help to repair five houses in Jérémie that were destroyed or significantly damaged by the disaster. This is an urgent need, since a new hurricane season is upon the city and much structural damage remains to homes.

MEPGA serves a two-fold purpose: First, it gives students who attend skills needed to eek out a livelihood in an area in which employment opportunities are scarce, so that they may secure food and clean water for their families and themselves, and second, the graduates will be giving back to the community by helping to rebuild it after 80 percent infrastructure loss.

Since it is in its infancy, MEPGA is urgently seeking support to assist in the payment of teachers’ salaries and purchase of building materials that students may use for practice, until the administration is able to enact a solid plan that will allow for sustainability. In contributing, you will be literally filling bellies, providing shelters, and changing lives.

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MEPGA is located in a country that runs on a primarily cash-based economy.  There is no Paypal account.  For this reason, I am collecting donations myself, which I will then wire to a founder using Western Union.  If you would like to make a contribution, please do one of the following:

  1. Send a check made payable to “Janine Harrison” to:

8802 Johnston Street

Highland, IN  46322

If you include your email address on the correspondence, I will happily send a receipt and photographic evidence of the transaction, so that you know that I did not spend the funds on bonbons.

  1. If you know me, when you see me, please hand me a check or money. I will send a receipt to you for your tax records.

Thank you very much for considering this request! All size donations appreciated!

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