Quality education for disadvantaged children

Although many children are now able to attend school in crisistorn Haiti, the quality of teaching is often inadequate. Caritas Switzerland is helping a school to support children from very poor families and provide them with high-quality education. To this end, grants are given, remedial lessons offered, and meals provided. The school’s employees also receive support and further training from Caritas.


Country / Region / Place
Haiti, Gonaïves

Target group
1,200 poor and disadvantaged schoolchildren, the teaching staff as well as the administration and management of the school ‘La Sainte Famille de Trou Sable’

Funding requirement
Around 200,000 Swiss francs per year

Project duration
Long-term child sponsorship

Project number

Project objective
The access of disadvantaged children to good-quality primary education is improved.

Project coordinator
Andrea Reitze, Tel: 041 419 22 46; areitzenot shown@caritasto make life hard for spam bots.ch



Haiti is one of the world’s least developed countries and the poorest country in the Western hemisphere. 80 per cent of the population of Haiti live below the poverty threshold and three-quarters of these live in rural areas. The country’s economy is weak, and malnutrition and undernourishment are widespread. As well as being in a politically unstable situation, Haiti is regularly struck by natural disasters. Haiti’s recent history is marked by the effects of the devastating earthquake in 2010 and hurricane Matthew in October 2016.

Given these negative prospects, the improvements that have been made in the primary school sector are particularly gratifying. Today, 80 per cent of children of primary school age in Haiti attend school. However, the improved access to education has not been accompanied by an improvement in the quality of tuition. Fewer than half the pupils reach Year 5. Only around eight per cent take the final exams that would qualify them to study at university. Very many pupils repeat classes or fail to attend lessons even when they have registered at the school.

The Haitian government has recognised the low educational level as a major problem and adopted twelve measures in 2014 and 2015, which are designed to improve the quality of education. Caritas Switzerland is building on this need for quality education and continues to give support to particularly disadvantaged children. 

The learning outcomes of the children in the Artibonite Department are particularly worrying. This region in the north of Haiti records the weakest reading performance in the country. On average, pupils in Year 3 can only read 23 words in 60 seconds. The standard for children at this stage is normally 60 words in 60 seconds.


What are we doing?

Caritas Switzerland has worked for many years with the school ‘La Sainte Famille de Trou Sable’ in the areas of education and health. The school is in the Trou Sable quarter in Gonaïves, where a particularly large number of poor families live. It was built in 1992. The school now offers good quality education for around 1,800 children and young people, from nursery school to the final year (corresponds to the Swiss university entrance qualification (Matura). This provides students with a good basis for taking charge of their own lives later on and become active citizens. The school has a library, a computer room, as well as a canteen in which the children are offered meals. Lessons at the school are taught in coordination with the diocesan education bureau in Gonaïves. As in all parish schools, the curricula are based on the requirements of the Ministry of Education. 

Since 2010, Caritas Switzerland has supported the school in helping children from very poor families. The current project builds on the achievements of the previous project. The school has experienced strong growth in recent years: numbers increased from 1,150 pupils in 2010/2011 by almost a third to 1,800 children. Of these, 100 per cent always complete primary school. However, the school’s resources are under increasing pressure. To enable the school to continue to offer good quality education to its pupils, Caritas Switzerland is planning to support ‘La Sainte Famille de Trou Sable’ in expanding its institutional and financial capacities in particular. 

In addition to supporting schoolchildren, the project focuses particularly on giving support to the school management, the administrative staff and the teaching staff. One goal is the preparation and implementation of a strategic curriculum. The teaching staff can improve their expertise through professional educational guidance and advisory services. Pre-school teachers also receive special support. They are given additional, targeted further training which they can use effectively to create a better learning environment.

To enable students from very poor families to attend school, 80 schoolchildren receive grants. 50 primary school pupils can benefit from special educational support through remedial courses. Moreover, 1,200 children are served a warm, nutritious lunch. Financing the midday meal is an additional incentive to attend school, especially for poor parents who frequently rely on their children’s work for support.

The school is also supported in identifying small investment projects and manage them independently. In this way, the project aims to achieve the financial self-management of ‘La Sainte Famille de Trou Sable’ and thus its sustained success.


Your sponsorship

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