Saint Patrick's Mission and School -- Locorbe, Haiti
St. Jude’s partnership to serve and strengthen the Episcopal mission community and primary school of Saint Patrick’s School in rural Haiti brought meaningful change for the 2011-12 school year that ended in July 2012.
For the first time in its history, the teachers at St. Patrick were paid for each of the ten months they worked over the last school year. This was in large part because of a St. Jude’s allocation of $4,500 of 2011 Outreach monies towards the $8,000 in staff salaries. All Saints parish and school in Carmel provided the remaining balance.
Venia Michel (holding her child in the pre-kindergarten classroom) taught 28 pre-kindergarten three to five year olds and was paid $49 a month, the base salaryfor teachers during the school last year. There were over 250 students enrolled during the 2011-12 school year.
In a community where many live on as little as $1 a day, enabling teachers to rely on their job for their income fosters commitment and strengthens the school as an institution.
Episcopal priest Lazard Amirold, who oversees Saint Patrick’s, had prior teachers and prospective teachers take a proficiency test before the start of the 2012-13 school year. Based on this test five of eight teachers from last year were carried over, three were replaced and a new position was filled to return the pre-school program to the three levels of the French system: Petite, Moyenne, Grande.
A reliable salary enables Father Lazard to better hold the teachers to his expectation that they will do their very best. A commitment by the CfSP to provide $1,200 a month for salaries in the coming school year has enabled Lazard to increase the base pay for teachers to $71.
In June, the Social Justice Outreach committee at St. Jude's allocated $5,500 for salaries in 2012-13. In July, all Saints parish, All Saints Day School and St. Edward’s, in San Jose, pledged to raise the remainder of a $12,000 salary budget for the coming year.
There is much to do to build up Saint Patrick’s as an institution and help it become self-sustaining. Ensuring that staff salaries are paid is intended to be a foundation for a better future.
Individual parishioner support
Individual St. Jude’s parishioners have opened their hearts to Saint Patrick’s and also provided financial support. Through mid-September 2012 over $3,600 in individual donations have enabled Father Lazard to begin to address unmet needs such as repairing the broken desks in Venia Michel’s classroom.
This support has also made possible a full complement of textbooks and other classroom materials for the start of the new school year at Saint-Patrick. It is a remarkable change given the starkly austere circumstances of Saint-Patrick’s classrooms.
Father Lazard closed an email in June 2012 with this: “We are all grateful for all you've done and what you are willing to do for us. Blessings to all our friends in California. Lazard+”
Whoever you are, wherever you are on your journey of faith, you are welcome here.