Skip to main content

Haiti: UN peacekeepers rebuild school in troubled neighbourhood of capital

Haiti: UN peacekeepers rebuild school in troubled neighbourhood of capital

Haitian children in rebuilt school
More than 1,500 children in one of the most troubled neighbourhoods of Haiti’s capital are attending classes again after soldiers serving with the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) helped to renovate a school building that had been left unusable by the violent activities of armed gangs.

At a ceremony yesterday, MINUSTAH officials handed over the keys for the Lycée Jacques Roumain in the Martissant district of Port-au-Prince, which re-opened last month and already has 1,576 students.

The school has been renovated, complete with new toilets, fences, a kitchen, repainted buildings and dozens of classroom benches for children, thanks to a joint effort involving MINUSTAH, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the national education ministry.

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) provided much of the funding for the project, which cost about $1.7 million.

Before it was rebuilt, the school had also served as the provisional local base for Haitian National Police (HNP) forces, UN Police (UNPOL) members and a contingent of Sri Lankan blue helmets with MINUSTAH as they tried to restore law and order to Martissant, which has been ravaged in recent years by armed gangs.

J. Carter, the head of MINUSTAH’s civil affairs section, said “the school represents an office at the heart of a difficult district. The building is today the tangible symbol of hope for the local population of the district.”

He added that the re-opening of the school provides an opportunity for locals to “break the vicious circle of violence and resume a life in security,” noting also that economic activities in Martissant are resuming, local public institutions are functioning again and many displaced people have returned.

“It’s a moment of joy and hope because this school and the education that it offers will contribute to building a better future for Haiti.”