Schools

Since 1973, when AMURT (Ananda Marga Universal Relief Team) volunteers first started working in the poorest areas of Port-au-Prince, Ananda Marga has been providing the community with a weekly medical clinic, a food distribution program, and education initiatives supplementing its school operations ranging from adult literacy, martial arts, and English classes, to yoga and meditation classes, to solar oven construction workshops.

Over the years the deepening poverty in Haiti and the lack of hope for a better future has meant that many Haitians struggle to survive on a daily basis. This desperate situation is getting worse. There has been a total collapse of the already shaky infrastructure, and electricity and running water is sporadic at best. This has made life even more difficult for poor families. Haiti has become yet another example of a state that has failed its people, leaving the Haitians to fend for themselves against impossible circumstances. Children are succumbing to malnutrition and diseases at record rates. According to UNICEF, the political, social and economic chaos has indentured 300,000 children into a life of domestic slavery.

Currently AMURT runs two schools in Port-au-Prince, serving students who would otherwise be unable to get any education. The curriculum is based on the principles of Neohumanism, emphasizing holistic development of the student’s personality.

Both of the schools are an integral part of the social and cultural fabric of the Haitian society. They are situated on the outskirts of one of the poorest residential slums in Port-au-Prince. Most of the students are confronted daily by extreme economic hardship and tense social conditions. Because of the complete lack of a social safety net most of them have no medical care, are malnourished, and have no access to school materials or supplies. We are currently running a feeding program, a daily medical clinic at the school, a weekend medical camp, a solar oven initiative, and disaster relief for the villages that have been hit hardest by the flooding of May 2004. Our goal is to develop a variety of service programs that seek to benefit the students, their families, and the surrounding community. The areas that experience greatest need are community health care, nutrition, adult education, literacy and skills training.

Planning and fundraising has begun for the establishment of the Center for Neohumanistic Education (CNHE). The center will strive to develop a balanced representation of the arts, sciences, economics and esoteric studies. It will seek to draw upon the rich cultural and spiritual heritage of the Haitian people, bringing in volunteers and participants from around the world. The focus will be on building programs that are accepted and embraced by the local community, who will play an active part in the center’s administration and maintenance.

The CNHE will share space with the Neohumanist school at our Delmas location. The building is currently undergoing extensive renovation, adding energy-efficient features such as a rainwater collection system, composting bins, a rooftop garden, solar ovens and a complete solar PV system providing electricity for the evening classes and computer lab. The project will serve as an environmental education center, housing several labs and student-run service projects that will seek to encourage active participation and creativity.

The CNHE will have a very active community outreach orientation. Its unique location in the heart of Port-au-Prince together with the capabilities of its educational initiatives will provide a suitable base for establishing and maintaining a host of planned integrated development projects, including several cooperative initiates such as a community tech (and computer education) center, an evening adult education program, an environmental education center, and construction and sewing cooperatives. The community has requested these development projects, which will provide people with an opportunity for eventually meeting their economic needs.

We welcome volunteers who have desire to serve those less fortunate. Bring along your enthusiasm, practical life skills, and passion for making this a better world. Personal initiative, team building, education experience, and community involvement are all valuable skills. Knowledge of French or Haitian Creole is a plus but not a requirement.

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