The massive earthquake on January 12, 2010 brought unprecedented devastation to the island nation of Haiti. While the world’s attention focused on the extensive damage done in Port-au-Prince, a catastrophe of equal magnitude unfolded on Haiti’s southern coast in the city of Jacmel. As many as 70% of Jacmel’s homes were damaged or destroyed. Operation USA has focused a good portion of its Haiti relief and recovery efforts in Jacmel—knowing it can make a significant impact in this smaller and somewhat overlooked community.
The largest project to be undertaken was the rebuilding of the public school, Ecole Nationale Jacob Martin Henriquez. The nine-building school complex now provides a new educational home and free daily meal to more than 900 local children in grades K through 7.
Operation USA partnered with Honeywell Hometown Solutions, the philanthropic organization of Honeywell Corporation, to reconstruct this primary school that serves students who couldn’t otherwise afford to go to school. This project was built in cooperation with the City of Jacmel, with the support of its exceptional Mayor (now Senator), Edwin Zenny—a nationally known anti-corruption figure and committed activist for Jacmel’s future.
The school—designed pro bono by global planning firm Gensler, with structural engineering services provided by seismic experts Miyamoto International—was built using contemporary, sustainable building methods and was designed to withstand any potential future earthquakes. The school’s construction process was used to train local builders in modern earthquake-resistant construction and environmentally-conscious techniques that can save Haiti both money and natural resources in the years to come. Operation USA will establish a scholarship fund to help cover the cost of books, uniforms and other student expenses.
UPDATE: MARCH 2011
Construction nears completion! Inauguration ceremonies were held on March 11, 2011 which included a ribbon-cutting ceremony with both Operation USA and Honeywell’s CEOs in attendance.
UPDATE: OCTOBER 10, 2011
The first day of school is here! The brand new campus proudly welcomes its first students today.