On May 16, 2011, Happy Hearts celebrated the opening of our first school in Haiti, a preschool/kindergarten at Ecole Nouvelle Zoranje. The school for 102 children, ages three, four, and five, is the product of a partnership between Happy Hearts Fund and ProDev, one of Haiti's most active and respected educational organizations. The school is situated in the Croix des Bouquet district 30 minutes outside of Port-au-Prince. The students at the school include children originally living in the Village La Renaissance Orangers area, children displaced and relocated from earthquake areas, and children attending from nearby Cite Soleil. For the academic year prior to the construction of the kindergarten, the children attended school in tents on the site.
Children attend the opening ceremony with excitement.
The opening celebration was memorable. The children of Ecole Nouvelle Zoranje had prepared songs, speeches and dances, and their contributions were a joyful demonstration of the rich talents of Haiti's children. Haiti's newly inaugurated President Martelly attended the event with the First Lady in his first public appearance as president, and spoke about the essential role of public education in developing Haiti's future. ABC's David Muir covered the event, featuring the story on ABC World News with Diane Sawyer and Nightline in the following days.
President Martelly speaks to the children at the ceremony; Petra Nemcova interacts with the children in the classroom.
The kindergarten, designed and administrated by ProDev, was funded by Happy Hearts Fund thanks to our generous donor Jonathan Jackson. The school is supported and enriched by the efforts of the partners, sponsors, and supporters of both organizations. The kindergarten is part of ProDev's model educational complex, Ecole Nouvelle Zoranje, which currently includes a kindergarten, elementary, and middle school. The vision will be to develop a comprehensive educational model that will implement effective educational practices; cost-effective, earthquake resistant construction; integrated medical, technological, and sustainable practices; and will serve as a center for training and development that can be replicated in key locations of the country.