Sanford Senior Leads Education Initiative in Haiti
Sanford Senior Maddy Duzy has long been involved in improving access to medical treatment and education in Haiti. Now she's getting the whole Sanford community involved in her efforts.
Since the sixth grade, Sanford student Maddy Duzy has supported an international development initiative to increase access to medical treatment and education in Haiti. Now, in her senior year, Maddy is involving the entire Sanford community in her efforts by organizing a donation drive for school and medical supplies that will be sent to the École L’Erudit de Léogâne in Haiti.
Maddy’s mother, Helen Duzy, has long been involved with the Notre Dame Haiti Program (NDHP), an organization created by graduates of the University of Notre Dame to serve the needs of the poor in Haiti. Prior to the pandemic, a team of Delaware health practitioners who are Notre Dame graduates travel to Haiti twice a year to provide medical care to the community in Léogâne and assess how to better serve their needs.
In addition to medical support, the NDHP recognizes the key role that education plays in community development. That’s what lead Jean Marc Brissau, the former country director of the NDHP, to found the École L’Erudit de Léogâne, which aims to deliver quality education to impoverished children who would otherwise not have the opportunity to attend school. Currently, the school’s enrollment has grown to 82 students, with five dedicated teachers making up the school’s faculty.
Still, the school is in need of assistance to further its educational mission—with needs ranging from the addition of more tables and chairs to the purchasing of computers and a water filtration system. Speaking on the school’s opening in 2018, Brissau noted the value that external assistance for the school has in improving the local community, “There are many unfortunate kids of Leogane who wouldn’t benefit from an education...without this type of assistance. Your support of the school has increased its reputation, even with its young age. Many people want to work at the school and many parents are starting to register their children for the upcoming school year.”
In Haiti, only 50% of children attend school, while only 30% of those students continue their education beyond the fifth grade. As a whole, the country has a 40% illiteracy rate. The École L’Erudit de Léogâne hopes to be part of changing those statistics. Its students are fully funded, so that poor children are not deprived of an education due to their inability to pay school fees. Additionally, students are provided a hot meal at lunch, which for many students may be their only meal of the day.
In years past, Sanford’s Service Club has organized a donation drive to gather resources that are then brought with the volunteers travelling to Haiti through the NDHP. While the medical missions to the country have been suspended due to travel advisories, donated materials are still able to securely reach the school through the school’s director. Needed items this year include flip flops, shoes, sneakers, summer clothing, textbooks, backpacks, school and medical supplies, and personal protection equipment such as masks. Donations will be accepted Monday to Thursday (9/21-9/24) from 7:15am-8:00am or 3:00pm-3:45pm in front of Sanford Hall.
Additionally, cash contributions can be made to Intervol,an international non-governmental organization that is overseeing the construction of a secure perimeter around the school complex.