Just the Facts...
Status: Complete

School: Ecole Academique de Rambeau

Country: Haiti

District/Province: Les Cayes

Village: Rambeau

Donor: The Joseph Family

Partner: BuildOn

Year: 2011

Grades: pre-K through Grade 6

Students: 120

Why we work in Haiti:
52 % of the total population in Haiti was illiterate in 2009 according to the World Bank, and
60% of primary school age children in Haiti abandon school before the 6th grade while one-third of girls over the age of six never go to school at all
Before the earthquake, Haiti was already the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, with extreme poverty rates as high as 84% in rural areas.

Rambeau School Project Completed on November 30, 2011!

Rambeau children in front of their new school block
The Rambeau school project broke ground on September 12, 2011 and was completed on November 30, 2011. The people of Rambeau contributed 1,797 volunteer workdays to the project, finishing on schedule.

The new school block in Rambeau has 3 classrooms. The walls are made of cinderblocks reinforced with rebar, and the floor is poured concrete. The roof is corrugated metal which is part of an updated design for our Haiti buildOn schools in 2011. Students began using the new school block on January 9, 2012. Rambeau is one of several communities under consideration for buildOn’s Community Education Program for adults, which launched in four communities in Haiti in December 2011. Two more will be added in April 2012.

The most challenging aspect of this project was excavating the hillside on which the school sits. It took an entire week to dig out the hill by hand in order to place the school foundation on a flat surface. Lots of extra volunteers showed up for this initial phase of the project, and the phrase “men anpil fe chay pa lou!” (the creole version of “many hands make light work”) could be heard often on the worksite. Heavy rains also posed a challenge, but the people of Rambeau kept making steady progress by working under tarps as much as possible.

On this project we learned a lot- about project management, working in groups, and what it means to really participate in community development.
Pierre Enid, age 30
This school offers the possibility to more students in and around the community to come to school. This school will play a vital part in diminishing the level of delinquency in the community. Development in the education sector is good for everyone.
Brousseau Bonvil, age 43

Rambeau Community Profile

The community of Rambeau was founded more than 100 years ago. It is located in the Les Cayes region of Haiti, about a 2 hour drive from the buildOn office in the town of Les Cayes. The population of Rambeau is approximately 25,000 people. The population in the section of Rambeau where the buildOn school will be built- called Trois Mangos- is about 8,000 people.

The people of Rambeau are subsistence farmers who grow corn, beans, cabbage and a grain called petit-mit. There are several religions represented in the community, including Catholicism, Protestantism and Voodoo. The climate in Rambeau is tropical but much cooler than in the capital, Port au Prince. The closest medical center is Bonne Fin Hospital, about 45 minutes away by care or motorcycle. There is a large water pipe that brings fresh water to the community daily, which the residents of Rambeau consider to be their greatest resource.

Old School Conditions

Ecole Academique de Rambeau - This school was founded in 2003, and the Ministry of Education recognized and authorized the school in 2005. Classes were taught for many years in an old mill building until it was destroyed by the earthquake in 2010. Since then classes have been held in borrowed space in a church; because the room is not adequate, current enrolment is only 120 students.

There are 9 teachers, all from Rambeau, teaching preschool through 6th grade. Many students walk about an hour and a half each day to get to the nearest school outside of Rambeau. A community organization called Association de Paysans de Rambeau made a formal request to buildOn for help with this situation.
Exterior of the church building currently being used as a school.

Rambeau School Project

buildOn staff and community members from Rambeau broke ground on the new school block in September 2011. The entire project will take approximately 14 weeks to complete, and the finished school block will have 3 classrooms. The floor and roof will be poured concrete, and the walls will be made of cinderblocks reinforced with rebar. This design ensures that the school will be able to withstand Haiti’s earthquakes and hurricanes. Before starting construction, the entire community signed a covenant outlining the following responsibilities:

Community Contribution
• Unskilled labor: 20 workers (10 women and 10 men) per day, six days per week
• Commitment to educating girls and boys equally
• The land on which the school will be built
• High quality local materials: sand, gravel, water & rocks
• Volunteer management committee made up of 12 villagers (six women, six men)
• Lodging for buildOn Field Coordinator and skilled laborers in local homes
• Basic construction tools when available (picks, buckets, etc.)

buildOn Contribution
• Engineering and architecture
• Construction materials (excluding local materials) for school and latrine
• Skilled labor and plans needed to build the school
• Project management (buildOn coordinators)
• Instruction in basic construction techniques