Month: February 2015

Bridge to Haiti: Students in Grande Saline Awarded Certificates for Completing Level 1 Computer Literacy Training

BridgetoHaitiLogoSome of the students at the Grande Saline computer school have completed the Level 1 computer literacy training and were recently awarded certificates from their teacher, Tida.  The Level 1 computer literacy training documents were created and provided by the Bridging the Digital Divide Program, and were translated into Haitian Creole by SUNY Broome student Shaina Louis.  As part of this Level 1 training, the students learned the basic parts of the computer and what they do, how to turn the computer on and off correctly, a little bit about data and storage (KB vs. MB), the basics of using the mouse and the keyboard, basic information about the desktop and file management (how to manage a window and how to create and name a folder), and some basic word processing (how to cut, paste and copy).

The fifteen computers at the computer school were provided by SUNY Broome’s Business Information Technology Department, Geodis and Pall. The certificates for the children and the badge worn by their teacher were designed and produced by Professor Sandy Wright’s BIT 265: Project Management class.The students in Grande Saline do not have any kind of formal school so the computer classes are very special for them.  To be able to earn a certificate is a significant achievement, so thank you to BDDP, Professor Wright, and her students for making this possible!

The computer lab in Grande Saline also has a new table for the students to work at.  Using donation money (and some of the wood left over from the crates we shipped to Haiti), Tida hired a Haitian carpenter to construct a large sturdy table for the students.  Next up: we hope to have a second table and some uniform shirts for the computer students. Thanks again to everyone who has supported the Grande Saline Computer School!

Finally, congratulations to the children in Grande Saline for their hard work under difficult conditions.  We are so proud of you and are excited to see you continue to learn!

Bridge to Haiti: Update from La Feve School

The kids at La Feve school in Port au Prince are making great progress with their computer lessons.  They have five computers to use at their school and the teacher has one computer.  The computers were donated by Geodis and Pall and refurbished by BDDP volunteer, Jack Rappaport. The children are learning from the BDDP computer literacy materials. Their teacher tells me that they can now make a folder and rename it by themselves.  La Feve school started out as a school for children living in a tent city.  The families in the tent city have relocated, but they still have their school! Joseph Johnson (JJ), who started this school, recently found a new and better location for the students.  He tells me that the students and their parents are very happy about how much they are learning.  It is always a struggle to find money for the teacher and for the Internet connection, but the JJ does his best to find support for the school from month to month.  We are really proud of the great work that these kids are doing!!

Bridge to Haiti: Students Practice Computer Basics in Grande Saline

Here are a few recent pictures of students at a computer class in Grande Saline. It is nice to see that awesome solar power panel in the background!  Previously, class had to be cancelled when there was no fuel for the generator or when the generator was not working. Even though there was some rain in Grande Saline this week, they had enough power for their classes.

There have been a lot of protests in Haiti lately over rising gas prices.  In fact, the computer school in Cite Soleil was closed this week.  It was not safe for the children to come to school because of the political protests in the streets of Cite Soleil. Hopefully things will settle down soon so the kids in Cite Soleil can get back to school.

We are one step closer to bringing clean water to the people of Grande Saline!

Tom Collart (AKA my Dad) went to Haiti this weekend to continue work on the Pall AX1 water filtration system.  He, JJ, Schneider and Esterling worked very hard and successfully completed all of the work that they hoped to accomplish!  They repaired the compressor, rewired the pump, made the necessary cuts in the shelter (container) and fitted all the pipes.  They also took pictures of the operators (we are making them badges) and checked in on the Grande Saline computer school (thanks Esterling and Tida).

The next (and I hope final) step will be for the team, including our amazing Pall engineers, to return to Grande Saline to get the system running and spend a few days training the Haitian operators how to run and maintain the system.  This is such an important project for the Health for Haiti group.  Access to clean water is a vital and basic necessity that is easy for us to take for granted. It is really exciting to see the project moving forward.  Thanks to everyone who has helped along the way. And special thanks to the crew that is there now and worked so hard over the past few days.  All of you who have been there know how difficult that trip to Grande Saline is.  These guys went to Grande Saline two days in a row (each way is at least a four hour drive in the truck with no AC) and put in long, hot hours of work.  I am also wishing for a safe return for my dad tonight.  He is scheduled to fly into Syracuse pretty late and then must drive home to Endicott.  I am hoping that the bad weather holds off until he is back home safe. (Update on 2/9/15:  Tom made it home safe!)

Below are some pictures (thanks for sharing Schneider and Rachael!).  Stay tuned for Phase 3!!

Bridge to Haiti: Update from Grande Saline

Computer classes continue in Grande Saline!  There are now 85 children and 45 young adults taking classes at the newly expanded computer lab. The Grande Saline computer center has fifteen laptops (donated by Geodis, Pall and Professor Sandy Wright and the SUNY Broome Business Information Technology Department).  The laptops were refurbished and set up by Bridging the Digital Divide Program (BDDP) volunteer Jack Rappaport. And….thanks to generous donations from local community members, and installation work performed by the 2015 Health for Haiti class and Dr. Gay Canough from ETM Solar Works, the laptops are now powered by clean, quiet solar power. This is a major improvement for the community as the generator they were relying on to power the computers was old, noisy and often failed to work.  In addition gas is very expensive and difficult to obtain.  Now the power for the computers comes from Haiti’s abundant sunshine.

The students and young adults are working through the Level 1 computer literacy training documents provided by the BDDP and translated into Haitian Creole by SUNY Broome student Shaina Louis. Other students are learning to use PowerPoint and will participate in the Bridge to Haiti digital pen-pal exchange with students at George F. Johnson Elementary School in Endicott, New York. The students can also access the Internet to expand their learning opportunities. The new laptops provided by Professor Wright’s department have built-in webcams, and the SUNY Broome community has the opportunity to communicate and work with the people in Grande Saline over our digital bridge.

Our teacher in Grande Saline, Tida, recently held a meeting with members of the community to discuss the computer school.  The community is thinking about what they want to name their computer center, and is also suggesting that students come for their classes properly dressed and cleaned up. In Haiti students almost always wear a uniform to school, and this is something that the community hopes to eventually have for their computer school.  Tida said that this is very important to the parents and the students. We are glad that the community members appreciate and value the opportunity to have computer classes, and we hope to find a way to help provide at least a uniform shirt for the computer students.

If you would like to help support the computer school in Grande Saline or any of the Health for Haiti class projects, please visit our Support Health for Haiti page.