SJU Project to Advance Education in Haiti Earns Support
Raskob Foundation for Catholic Activities Grants $25K
Tuesday, December 11, 2012
PHILADELPHIA (December 11, 2012) — Project Haiti, a Saint Joseph’s University-led effort to assist Jesuit-run elementary schools in Haiti, earned significant support from The Raskob Foundation for Catholic Activities of Wilmington, Del. A $25,000 grant will advance efforts to develop model pedagogies for the fledgling schools in the earthquake-devastated country. The goal is to grow a curriculum that actively engages students in hands-on, child-centered learning.
The grant will allow periodic exchange of key personnel to continue, as well as provide important educational materials to the schools, beginning with sustainable and reusable science kits purchased from the Full Option Science System (FOSS).
Under the direction of Ambroise Dorino Gabriel, S.J., the Society of Jesus in Haiti has started an educational system, called Foi et Joie, formally affiliated with the Latin American Fe y Alegría system (both mean “Faith and Joy”).Since the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti, Foi et Joie has built or is contemplating building 46 schools and six centers focusing on teaching manual trades throughout Haiti.
After the 2010 earthquake, a group of Saint Joseph’s faculty, administrators, and staff, as well as a group from Archmere Academy in Claymont, Del., decided they wanted to help Foi et Joie, particularly by sharing Saint Joseph’s primary resource: pedagogy. SJU Project Haiti entered into a formal partnership with Foi et Joie in Haiti under the leadership of Terrance Furin, Ph.D., coordinator of international education programs; Joseph Cifelli, Ed.D., director of certification, accreditation and partnerships; Aimée Terosky, Ph.D., assistant professor of educational leadership; and Patrick Samway, S.J., Ph.D., professor emeritus of English. Fr. Samway believes that Foi et Joie can transform the nature of education in all of Haiti.
“When I visited Haiti and when we hosted Foi et Joie educators, I was most impressed with the spirit of the students and the teachers,” says Terosky. “Despite what many of us would consider challenging conditions, the students and teachers are ready to learn and I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to work with their dedicated teachers in expanding child-centered pedagogy.”
Subsequently, members of Project Haiti went twice to Port-au-Prince to listen to the needs of this emerging educational system. As a result of these sessions, Project Haiti invited Father Gabriel and four of his administrative staff to travel to Philadelphia for a week to visit local elementary schools and see American pedagogy in action. In addition, they participated in educational seminars and discussions, so that the group would be better prepared to continue to develop the Ignatian charism in their schools as they see appropriate.