“Haitians in Toronto have always rallied to help their country throughout its various adversities, whether it’s severe damage from hurricanes, mud slides, drought and who can forget the devastating 2010 earthquake?” Dr. Eric Pierre, honourary consul general for Haiti, told The Camera.
His comments came in an interview Monday on the dire situation in Haiti for many residents as a three-year drought compounds the ongoing cleanup and rehabilitation after the massive quake.
In addition, nearly 100 people have died of cholera across Haiti in the first two months of 2016, the Ministry of Public Health and Population reported. There were 7,782 reported cases of the disease between Jan. 1 and Feb. 27.
All this is playing out as the nation’s political system is in upheaval, with the presidential election twice postponed and former president Michel Martelly leaving office over the disputed result. Jocerlerme Privert is acting as interim president.
In 2002, Pierre and a dedicated group of Haitians in Toronto formed the charitable organization Pierspective Entraide Humanitaire. Over the years, Pierspective has raised funds for a number of initiatives including a home for the elderly, an orphanage, schools, and contributed to relief from natural disasters.
“Following the 2010 earthquake, Pierspective made the decision to focus on education for the many children who were displaced and were either not attending schools or attended in tents. This ambitious project was undertaken in cooperation with their partner in Haiti, Aide Mutuelle pour un Environnement Nouveau (AMEN),” Pierre said.
He also noted that St. Paul de Corail Cesselesse School benefited from funds generated through an annual gala event and other fundraising activities that helped build and equip the school.
The school opened in 2013 with two classrooms completed. Three more classrooms were added in 2014.
The first floor of the school has since been completed and some three hundred students between the ages of three and 10 are attending school.
“The school also serves as a community centre and extra curricular venue for adults to learn new skills for different trades to improve their economic well being,” Pierre said.
Andrea Delvaille, a media strategist, said Pierspective is committed to finishing the school in 2016 by raising enough funds to complete the second level which will provide an additional five classrooms.
“The cost to do this will be approximately U.S. $70,000. In order to achieve this goal, Pierspective will launch a major fundraising campaign in April to encourage donations, as well as host the annual gala in November to complete its fundraising initiatives for 2016.”
All donations are welcome, and can be made to Perspective Entraide Humanitaire, 902 Bathurst St., Toronto, M5R 3G3. Tax receipts will be issued. Further information is available at www.Haitiaide.ca.