students looking at the mountains through a stone wall

Moving up the coast: Grace Emmanuel School plans to reopen

We need your prayers for logistics to fall into place to finish the school year in a new location.

Last week, Grace Emmanuel School’s leadership met with the director of a government school in Arcahaie, located about 10 miles up the coast from our campus (which remains under gang control).

The school currently holds classes for about 600 students in the morning but sits empty in the afternoons.

We are grateful that the director has agreed to let Grace Emmanuel School use the school’s facilities in the afternoons for the remainder of the summer. The plan is to resume classes for Grace Emmanuel School on Monday, June 12.

“After lots of research, we found an opportunity for the children not to lose a school year,” said Andris, who has served as the director of Grace Emmanuel School since 2016. “Reopening has required a lot of planning and motivation. On Monday, if God wills, Grace Emmanuel School will relaunch.”

Because the facility is not set up for preschool and kindergarten, staff is working on a summer camp option instead for the youngest students beginning in July. All of the other classes, first grade through seniors, will resume on Monday.

There is a lot of work yet to be done to reopen school in a new location. Nearly every needed supply was left behind when the school fled on April 19. Textbooks. Pencils and paper. Filing cabinets full of student records. Staff is working on replacing the most necessary items and finding ways to make do without the rest.

We hope classes can meet June through August in order to wrap up this very troubled school year.

But is it safe to meet?

The threat level in Arcahaie has remained low because of the greater size of its population, its location, and the grassroots bwa kale movement that has slowed down the advance of the gangs up the coast. Frankly, there is no safe place right now, but families are anxious for some semblance of normal life to continue despite the risks.

How many GES students are still in the area?

Based upon the home visits JiHM staff members have made over the last several weeks, we think most of the students who had returned to GES this year have relocated to Arcahaie, or remained in Cabaret. Thanks to a young man who took the risk upon himself to retrieve the school bus from the mission the day after the attack, we will be able to provide transportation for kids to the new location.

Are the teachers and staff available?

Just like the students, most of Grace Emmanuel School’s staff is still in the area and eager to begin again.

Will the school be able to provide a meal to the students?

Yes. Though the government school does not provide a daily meal, it does have a kitchen facility we can use to prepare an afternoon meal for GES students.

What about the heat?

There is a reason most schools in Haiti dismiss by 1pm—the afternoons are HOT. June, July, and August are especially sweltering. Pray we can find creative ways to beat the heat so the students don’t feel like they are trying to learn in an oven.

Can sponsors write letters to their students again?

Not yet. We hope to resume letter writing next month, but need to work through a backlog first and make sure we have the necessary staff and supplies in place.

There are lots of logistics yet to work out, but we are so eager for the opportunity to meet again. Please pray for everything to fall into place, but also continue to pray for the greater miracle, that gangs would be defeated and everyone could just return to Source Matelas and begin to rebuild their lives.

Thank you for your continued outpouring of concern and support. We will continue to update you as often as we can.