Most of our sponsored students live in one of the poorest neighborhoods of Port au Prince, Carrefour, Bizoton. In 2016, we opened the Clean Hands for Haiti Community Center in the neighborhood.
About the space
Located in Carrefour, Bizoton, a neighborhood in Port au Prince, the Clean Hands for Haiti Community Center is located on the second floor of a building in the center of the community.
In 2015, we purchased the space and began renovations to outfit it for a classroom and two additional rooms that can be used for storage, medical clinics, workshops, and other uses. There is also a partially enclosed rooftop that houses our generator, supplies, and provides additional space for activities.
The Community Center officially opened in 2016. Since then, we have had covered the walls with colorful murals from local artists and installed a generator and wireless internet.
Our students work tirelessly each day, so we want to ensure that they have everything they need to be successful students.
Many of our students have extremely long commutes to school each day and a lot of familial responsibilities, making finding the time and space to study very difficult. The Community Center offers a full classroom with desks, chalkboards, a projector, and writing supplies. It was designed in this manner to give our students a safe and educationally-focused space to go before and after school to get their homework done.
A licensed Haitian teacher is on staff at the Community Center to assist our students each week in their schoolwork and studies. Since many of our students are the first in their families to attend school, having access to tutoring and a teacher outside of school hours plays an important role in their academic successes.
Additionally, our students have access to all of the other resources at the Community Center, such as leadership workshops, the technology lab, and healthy snacks.
In 2016, due to the generous in-kind support from David Tobin and Mission Capital Advisors, we opened a technology lab in the Community Center. It currently consists of wireless internet access and 22 Lenovo laptop computers equipped with educational games, word and numbers processors, and an internet browser.
In a country where only 10% of the population has Internet access, our technology lab provides unique support to students’ academic careers by teaching them technical skills.
In 2019, we plan on launching a photography and video course as part of the Arts Program, and a large component of that will be technology driven. During this course, students will learn the photo and video editing and sequencing through digital tools and the basics of publishing through the web and social media.
MelySmax Arts Program
Launched in 2018, the MELySMAX Arts Program is led by husband and wife team, Smax Music and MelimeL. Our program allows our students to immerse themselves in music and art through arts education, workshops, and more. As MelimeL and Smax are both artists and parents, they truly understand and value the importance of balancing academics with the arts.
We believe that giving students an opportunity to express themselves in artistic ways helps them explore their emotions and surroundings, think and problem solve in creative ways, and improves self-esteem, among many other benefits.