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Do poor people in Haiti have right to Education?

posted by WadnerPierre Haiti Topics: Port-au-Prince

August 28, 2008

Do poor people in Haiti have right to Education?


More than two weeks ago, SOPUDEP a non-profit organization fighting among the poor people in the commune of Petion-Ville, Port-au-Prince, Haiti. This organization is specialized in education fro the poor students in this commune. Since after the 2004 coup against the constitutional government of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, the director of SOPUDEP Mrs. Rae Dol has received threats from the authorities of the City Hall of Petion-Ville.

Mrs. Claire Ludy Parent

Claire Ludy Parent a former pro-popular movement in Haiti, she went to turn back against this moment just after the election may 2000 in which she was running for a second mandate as mayor of Petion-Ville, unfortunately, she lost face to Lavalas candidate to this post Mr. Sulley Guerrier who became mayor of Petion-Ville. Nobody can forget the protestations from the international community and the former lavalas opponents to Aristide. Mrs. Parent was one of them, whereas she became mayor for a second time of Petion-ville in the last election for the local authorities in 2006. She now wants to continue the policy of the former defacto mayor, which is the persecution of the people who are pro-popular movement and always stand for the respect of the rights that the poor people have and what they deserve.
Rea Dol, an activist woman who contributed to the literacy program launched by the Aristide government to allow those you have not chance in their to attend school to be able to learn how to read and how to write. This program was not supported by the anti-people groups, the cause was a political ambitious for power. The literacy program called “ALFA”, in which we found “ALPHA RESTO” which is a branch for feeding people, ALFA EKONOMIK this branch was there to educate people how to make a little business how to become a business owner. We could see on TV the witnesses of the oldest people about this program. They witnessed this was their time they could write and read their names, and about to learn how build a small enterprise and become small enterprise owner.

SOPUDEP, tree that hides the forest

It might be noticed SOPUDEP or the director of SOPUDEP is the only case like that we have in Haiti, perhaps SOPUDEP is the tree, which hides the forest. In the locality of Ti plas Kazo in Siane Claires’s Parish, this people have the same problem or worst. The Catholic Church authorities are continued to cut fr. Jean-Juste down, they refuse to allow him to return in his post to continue serving people in this poor quarter. Why they do not allow him to re-ordain and take again the head of this parish? Why do not they prove to the parishioners why the activist and progressive priest Rev. Jean-Just cannot continue heading this parish? If is it because he keeps claiming the return of his former priest brother, his former legal president Dr. Jean-Bertrand Aristide, cause the Haitian constitution does not guarantee that? Where were them when bishop Andre Dumas blessed to the group 184 and encouraged them to struggle against a democratically elected President and to boycott the Haiti’s 200th Independence as the first black republic in the world and the second declared independent in the America. Where were them, when the anti-Aristide and the members of the group 184 beated fr. Gerard Jean-Juste inside of Saint Pierre church while bishop Dumas was there? According to the people Rev. Jean-Juste is very helpful for this community, he planted a non-profit organization called What If Foundation with Mrs. Margaret Trost who is an American woman and with the supports from the volunteer people. Even the meetings with Archbishop Joseph Serge Miot by the members of this parish, the Archbishop still stands for the departure of Fr. Jean-Juste without respecting the laws of Catholic institutions that explain how to resolve a problem between a priest and his superior, we talk about the laws of Canon. The canon of 1638 says clearly, how the Haitian bishops have to solve Fr. Jean-Juste’s case, but according to Fr. Jean-Juste “They refuse to apply the church’s laws, I want to serve my people for the remainder of my life”.
This non-profit organization founded in year 2000 and receives support from people many countries divides in two branches, a feeding program which providing a plat of meal five days per week for over thousand people and the second one is the educational program that helps children going to school (www.whatiffoundation.or).

The SOPUDEP’ case, is clear for all that the education does not belong to the poor in Haiti. The church has its word to say. If the Haitian authorities do not say nothing in the case of SOPUDEP, that means they are not interested in education of this people.

SOPUDEP Background

Lionel Wooley was an assassin for the regimes of Papa Doc and Baby Doc Duvalier. In exchange for killing opponents of these repressive regimes in Haiti, he was allowed to steal the property of his victims and claim them as his own. In late 2000, Lionel Wooley died in exile in Miami and the government expropriated the properties he had stolen. Most were returned to the surviving members of the original victim’s families but a few had no known descendents. Among these few properties was a dilapidated mansion, burned and pillaged by an angry local community after the departure of Baby Doc. It is situated in the hills of Petion-Ville behind the Montana Hotel .

The property passed through Mayor Sulley Gurriere of Petion-Ville, to SOPUDEP whose membership actively participates in the National Literacy Project. Although the literacy campaign is designed for adults 30-60, SOPUDEP was deeply affected by the number of school age children who attended classes as well. They were mostly children of the poor whose parents could not afford to send them to school and could not find a place for them in the over crowded classrooms of the already overwhelmed public schools system. For this reason SOPUDEP made a decision to turn the property into a school for the most vulnerable and poor children of Petion-Ville. The SOPUDEP team hired a lawyer and began the legal process for acquiring a long-term lease of the property in 2000 as well as restructuring their organization to meet the requirements of the Haitian government to operate the school. SOPUDEP was given a 10-year lease on the property that expires in 2012 and was provided accreditation by the Ministry of Social Affairs and the Ministry of Education to conduct a school at the facility.

Their initial enrollment totaled 160 but has now grown to over 480 as of the 2007/08 school year. It stands as a beautiful example of transforming a gruesome legacy of the past into a symbol of hope for the future.

Since its founding, the school also added a government funded hot lunch program to supplement the diet of their students and staff. For many it was their only meal of the day. When President Aristide was ousted in 2004, funding for the program ceased. That same year the school suffered threats of attack from militia groups and unelected officials. Thankfully, no harm was inflicted on them. SOPUDEP struggles each month to pay its staff and continue the hot lunch program that was reinstated in March of 2008. SOPUDEP is a wonderful example of a community initiative founded more on courage and love than money. They try not turn down any poor child of the community for lack of funds.

For further information about SOPUDEP School please visit:

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I think they should. becaue every one should have an education it doeasnt matter white, black, poor rich, stupid or smart it really doesnt mottaer.