In August, 2011, ULC received word that the Parliament Foundation of Quebec once again awarded us books. This time, the books, totaling nearly 19,000, were to be slated for sites in Ouanaminthe and Ferrier, Haiti. Ouanaminthe is a northern border town with an estimated 300,000 residents. The books arrived in December, 2012 and the grand opening was held on February 12, 2013.
Organizing boxes before shelving
To house the center, we located a fantastic site near the town square, on a major thoroughfare. The leased facility is nearly 2,500 sq ft with a nice sized yard in the back (perfect for a playground!) and a smaller structure that will be used for security and storage. On a trip to Ouanaminthe in June 2012, the ULC team inspected the premises and found them to be perfect for now, until we purchase property of our own. The landlord made our requested renovations and our locally hired carpenters built shelving and other furniture. The site was already pre-wired for electricity, and so ULC-Ouanaminthe will have electricity to a certain degree as a utility, but will require an inverter and generator for those times when the utility is unavailable.
While in Ouanaminthe in 2012, the team interviewed candidates for employment at the new site and eventually hired a woman from the group. In 2013, when we set up the center, we hired additional staff to split time between ULC-Ouanaminthe and ULC-Ferrier with the goal of hiring an additional full-time employee for ULC-Ouanaminthe. In addition to the staff working in the center, we also hired security and a groundskeeper for ULC-Ouanaminthe.
Training new staff
We were impressed with the level of enthusiasm from community members we talked with while in Ouanaminthe. As a city with more than thirty small private schools, many of which are tied to churches, two public schools, and a public university, the people of Ouanaminthe are obviously hungry for education and desiring opportunities to better their lives.
In addition to our center, Ouanaminthe has received recent international focus as the government of Canada invested $4.2 million in Ouanaminthe’s police headquarters which happens to be the largest stronghold along the northern border. To read more about the initiative, check out our blog at: https://universallearningcentre.org/cms/en/blog/131-cheers-to-our-northern-friends-eh
For more information about the process to bring a library to Ouanaminthe, please read our blog entry: https://universallearningcentre.org/cms/en/blog/130-first-public-library-in-ouanaminthe-haiti-to-open-in-2012 Additional blog entries will be forthcoming to cover the process of setting up the library and holding a grand opening.
If you’d like to contribute to the operating costs at ULC-Ouanaminthe, which total nearly $50,000, please
Be sure to check out the video clip from our trip to Ouanaminthe in June 2012 on YouTube