November 25, 2011
On Friday, November 18th, the beautiful new wing of classrooms at the Academy for Peace and Justice officially opened.
APJ Country Director Bryn Mooser, the Canadian Broadcasting Company’s George Stromboulopoulos, and advisory board member Martha Rogers joined Father Rick and the St. Luc team to celebrate the opening.
The Academy for Peace and Justice now serves over 750 underprivileged students who would otherwise not be able to attend secondary school. Each student receives a full scholarship, including tuition, uniforms, nutritious meals and access to medical care. The new wing of the Academy is a milestone in our goal of providing free high-quality education to approximately 3,000 students every year.
Students and administrators filled the celebration with singing, dancing, musical performances and speeches. We are so proud of our progress, and we wanted to share more of the ceremony with you. We couldn’t have gotten this far without your support. Enjoy!
October 18, 2011
Port-au-Prince, Haiti — On the morning of October 10th, the sun was shining and the heat as the gates to the Academy for Peace and Justice reopened for school. Over 700 students streamed through the gates, smiling wide and anxious to get back to work. Bryn was on the ground taking it all in — here is his update from the first week back to school!
“It has been an amazing week here at the Academy for Peace and Justice. Last week teachers from all street schools did a training session at our secondary school. Its great to see our school used by the whole community. The uniforms were completed by Father Rick and his St Luc programs at Francisville and look great. We opened on Monday with 754 students and three grades. Currently staffed with 60 full and part time teachers and 12 staff members, cooks, administrators and maintenance. The school is a real joy to see and Father Rick and his team have been working so hard to open on time. In a country where secondary education is so scarce it is amazing to see how far we have come.”
“The surrounding community is really happy with how the building has turned out. Everywhere I travel people stop me to tell me how beautiful the school is. There is a pleasant look of happy surprise on their faces as they see a promise followed through. I wish you all could be there to watch as the students see their new school for the first time. Moving beyond words. I couldn’t be more proud of the St Luc team and all of you for getting to this major stage. There is so much more to do and I look forward to keeping our school growing strong. Haiti needs it now more than ever. Go APJ!”
July 15, 2011
Earlier this summer, the 7th grade students at the Academy for Peace and Justice had their first graduation ceremony. It was the culmination of a great first year of school for all of the APJ students.
Excitement and elation surrounded the day as students received recognition and awards for both highest grades and best attendance. New traditions were started at the graduation ceremony, and Mr. Smith was awarded the first “Teacher of the Year” prize from the students.
The ceremony finished with a wonderful dance performance from the students. Despite the continued economic turmoil in Haiti, the Academy for Peace and Justice is an inspiring center of learning and advancement for the future leaders of Haiti. Summer school is now in session and we are looking forward to welcoming our next class in the fall.
September 7, 2010
This October, finally the children of Haiti will return back to school. We are excited to announce that thanks to all of your support, these kids will have access to the first free secondary school in the slums. APJ has begun to build beyond the 6th grade, which has been the standard education limit of this country. We will welcome 200 7th graders to our APJ secondary school as we continue construction on the remainder of the campus. Our goal is to build a school for grades 7-13, serving approximately 1400 students, with the highest standards of functional design and safety, that utilizes solar and wind energy, includes an amphitheater, a basketball court and an edible garden. We will incorporate training in the arts, film, music and computers in addition to vocational programs in agriculture, accounting and medical assistance.
Artists for Peace and Justice believes that getting the children of the slums back to school is a crucial step in helping them rebuild their lives. By providing a safe place to learn, two meals a day, clean water and basic medical services we are investing in the children of Haiti and providing them with the tools that will benefit Haiti in the long term. APJ is confident that this secondary school campus and its programs will serve as a best practice model for future schools and contribute to the improvement of the overall education system in Haiti.
Thanks to the effectiveness of our grassroots local partners, we have been able to overcome many of the obstacles that large NGO’s are facing in Haiti. There is still so much work to be done. Our medical relief efforts are expanding to support a new family hospital and to setup a blood bank for those in need.
We thank you for your continued support of Haitian children.
Reza Nabavian M.D. and Olivia Wilde
Co-Chairs, Executive Committee, APJ Board of Directors
April 26, 2010
In the aftermath of the earthquake in Haiti, APJ has provided humanitarian relief for the injured population at St. Damiens Pediatric Hospital in Port-au-Prince. In addition to donating food/water/shelter, APJ medical efforts have been directed at providing limb salvage operations for children and adult victims of this horrible disaster. By performing complex reconstructive surgery and wound care, our team has been able to save many arms and legs.
Unfortunately, there was a need to perform many amputations in Haiti due to the nature of the injuries and lack of access to advanced surgical care. For the children who have lost their arm or leg, APJ has set up a rehabilitation center to provide the necessary physical therapy and wound care to hasten their recovery. Moreover, in collaboration with NPH-Italia, we will provide artificial arms and legs for our young amputees. By providing prosthetics and proper rehabilitation, we hope to improve the integration of this devastated group of children back into their society.
APJ medical efforts are in line with our mission to address the basic medical needs of our school children and is directed at training and enabling local Haitian providers to deliver the care.
Dr. Reza Nabavian, APJ Board of Directors
February 1, 2010
We are incredibly excited to have begun demolition and the planning for re-construction of the damaged street schools in Haiti. Last week we started demolition on our school in Cite Soleil, working with some amazing partners in Operation USA and Homes for the Heart to build disaster proof structures. We’ve contracted a number of Haitian workers to assist us in the rebuilding process and they are happy to be working on such vital structures for their community. They’re already excited about the next project.
We’re doing great things on the ground, providing supplies to Father Rick and his team at St. Damiens Pediatric Hospital as well as reinforcing the medical compound. Long term, APJ is committed to raising enough funds to build and support 50 street schools. We move forward with the generous support of our donors.
January 21, 2010
The first thing that hits you landing in Port-au-Prince are cries of mothers, fathers, neighbors and friends who have lost so much and so many in the last week. The Haitian people whom I have come to know over the last year are a strong, compassionate, resilient bunch who mourn with the same passion they live by.
I landed this morning with a team from the JP Haiti Relief Organization, a private foundation created by Sean Penn and Diana Jenkins to help in the rescue efforts. They have gathered 10 doctors, nurses and surgeons, a water specialist, logistics people and two cargo planes filled with medical supplies, food, tools, thousands of water filters and generators to help existing institutions and set up a clinic that will service those in need. They are generously supplying our group, Artists for Peace and Justice, with medicine we desperately need to get into the hands of our friends at St. Damien’s Hospital in Port-au-Prince. For the last 48 hours, operations have been performed without anesthesia, children are dying from dehydration and simple wounds have become so infected that many require amputation.
We have been called here by our dear friend, Father Rick Frechette. A doctor and priest in Haiti for the last 22 years, Rick defines the power of one man’s call to action. He and his Haitian colleagues have built and run the only free pediatric hospital in Haiti, the only hospital for disabled children, two orphanages, 20 street schools, free medical clinics in the poorest slums of the city, Cite de Soleil and most recently, New York City, a job training center that includes a bakery and shoe factory. He supplies the only free drinking water to the people of Cite de Soleil and feeds thousands of people a day in and around Port-au-Prince.
Rick was in Connecticut ministering to his dying mother when the earthquake hit last week. He immediately rushed back to his home and to his Haitian family, colleagues, staff and friends to help. When I spoke to him the morning after and asked what he needed from us he said, “If you are moved to do so, put on some work gloves, grab a shovel and help me dig my people out”. Unfortunately, we are probably too late to dig out the 50 or so staff and small children that are buried in the rubble. We are not too late, however, to get him his supplies that will save other lives.
The Port-au-Prince I hear and see today is nothing like the vibrant city I visited last year. A group of us from L.A. created an organization called Artists for Peace and Justice to fund Rick’s projects in Haiti and went down to work with him. For days we rode around the streets of Cite de Soleil in open air trucks, greeted by joyous children and smiling adults. I was struck not only by the overwhelming poverty of a country only one hour from our shores but more by the Haitian people themselves who, living in the midst of it all, found a way to celebrate life each day. There is no celebrating today, only the sounds of endless grief.
To give to Father Rick and the relief efforts, Donate Now. All money raised goes right to the staff on the ground.