Ideally, the point of any partnership between a foreign charity and a local social organization should be: for the charity to work themselves out of a job and for the local organization to find sources economic sustainability to pursue their own progress. While SOPUDEP’s projects are still largely donor funded, they strive to take a that leap to self-sufficientcy for their organization and their community members. The new school currently being built, will be a huge step in that direction.
SOPUDEP’s first school, Institution Mixde de SOPUDEP, exists in a refurbished burned out mansion. It was given to them on a ten-year lease in 2002, which they currently renew on a monthly basis. In anticipation to the termination of the lease – and for the reason that many people throughout the years have tried to illegally evict them from the premises – Director Réa Dol, with the help of international donors – namely Seth Donnelly and Cornelia Fletcher-, secured a piece of land down the hill on Delmas 83 in 2009.
Brick by brick and room by room, the school is being built when the money comes. Much of this progress has been because of the funding efforts of the Haiti Solidarity Club, founded by students from Los Altos High School. It has been a slow start, but what is being revealed is a building of both form and function, that will engage the community and help secure the organizations sustainability.
Much of what the building itself has to offer the community is varied and far reaching. It is more than just a school. Care has been taken in the design, which is both modern and beautiful. The original design was done by World Hands Alliance and was reappropriated by local Haitian engineer, Sully Guerrire.
Uses of the building itself will be as a rental space for various community activities. Examples include, external training, short course professional studies (which already exists at their other location), seminars, film, summer camps, concerts, conferences, an official National Exam location, and so on… In this way, SOPUDEP and their building becomes familiar and accessible to the community.
With this source and other sources of income in place, SOPUDEP will continue to push progressive social boundaries in education and other areas. It will still first and foremost be a quality educational facility, but it will also represent a change in the tide of Haiti’s ability to become self-reliant.