École Mère Louise in the COVID-19 Pandemic

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Haitian École Mère Louise (EML) students in classroom with masks

The global suffering caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has certainly taken its toll in Haiti, a country that has long suffered from poverty and has been marred further by political instability and seasonal natural disasters. The ramifications are particularly devastating for Haiti’s school system, which opened in early to mid-August, instead of typically in October, to make up for the time lost when the pandemic hit last March. Numerous challenges persist with establishing consistent social distancing protocols in schools and addressing the lack of computers or wifi.

At École Mère Louise (EML), two students sit in each row in classrooms to practice social distancing. Teachers keep a watchful eye over their students to remind them to frequently wash their hands, wear their masks, and to keep the required distance as they play.

Showing support to help counter some of the challenges, last month ITIAH Angels For Learning (IAFL) volunteers collected school supplies for 20 EML students, including hand sanitizers, surgical masks, and gloves. Supplies will be shipped at the end of this month. “Hopefully, this shipment will help keep the students and their teachers and family members safe,” says Marie Thadal, IAFL founder.

Sisters Elisabeth Paul, EML former principal, and Myrtha Louis, current principal, responded with gratitude on behalf of the school community. “Your shipment of supplies will bring much joy,” says Sister Paul. “It will send the message that education is the antidote for extreme poverty. I encourage the students, educators and families to be patient and follow the health and safety guidelines as much as possible. This pandemic shall pass.”

Added Sister Louis: “When the students arrived, they were excited to return to see their schoolmates and continue with their scholastic activities. We wish to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for what IAFL is doing and what it will do in the future to help us educate our students.”

School supplies will be collected throughout the year. Donations can be made by contacting ITIAH Angels For Learning at: info@itiahangels.org

By: Brenda Payne Whiteman

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