Haiti School Project Founding

Haiti School Project was founded by Tim Myers and Fred Ireland after hearing a follow-up story  on NPR’s Planet Money about a school building that was started in Villard, Haiti. Construction of the school had stalled, literally, at the foundation stage. Tim and Fred had never met but heard the same story on NPR and wanted to help. They each independently contacted NPR asking if something more could be done. The were put in touch with each other and this was the genesis of Haiti School Project.

Adam Davidson and Catiln Kenny of the Planet Money team went down to the L’Artibonite area of Haiti in the Spring of 2010 to do a story about a region of the country not directly affected by the earthquake yet deeply impacted by it nonetheless. The L’Artibonite area of Haiti grows and processes rice as its main agricultural product. After the earthquake, foreign aid brought in massive amounts of relief food to the country including significant quantities of rice. The effectively depressed the price of locally grown rice, putting an already fragile local economy under increased strain.

While in the area doing this story Adam and Catlin met the principal of school in Villard. Classes at the school were being held in a church and outside. The teachers were writing whole book lessons on blackboards because the students couldn’t afford books. The principal remarked that if he just had a little money to buy books and a few supplies things would be so much better for the children.

As a result of that story on June 15, 2010, NPR listeners donated $3,000 to the school - So much money that the principal felt there was enough to build an entire school building. Unfortunately, by the time the foundation was built the money for the entire project was used up and there was no apparent prospect for additional funding. NPR aired a second story about this outcome on November 30, 2010. Haiti School Project was created to finish the school and establish a sustainable educational system for the students. 

2011 Classrooms in Church and Outdoors