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.