Haven, a prominent Irish NGO working on the ground in Haiti, is undertaking its 11th annual volunteer trip to Haiti from April 21 to 29.
Padraig Daly from Athlone joins 39 other volunteers from Ireland and abroad in setting off on this life-changing trip with Haven.
This year’s programme sees the group travel to the small town of Carrefour Dufont, located two hours south-west of Haiti’s capital, Port au Prince. There, they will focus on the refurbishment and upgrade of the local school, which serves 220 children and nine teachers, and which suffered significant damage in last October’s Hurricane Matthew.
During the course of eight days, Haven’s volunteers will repair the roofs and replaster the walls of the school’s buildings, which were badly impacted by the most powerful storm to hit Haiti in over half a century. As well as this, volunteers will build a new kitchen on the school grounds, and a covered area for children to eat in and shelter from the searing afternoon heat.
The construction of a new toilet block will greatly improve the school’s facilities, and ensure clean sanitation and good health for its students.
Meanwhile, the volunteers will enable additional learning and skills for students through the development of an unused space into a school library. They will also create a safe area for children to play, with a colourful and interactive playground.
Every year, a key aim of the volunteer programme is to immerse volunteers in local communities in Haiti. During their time there, Haven volunteers will not only work closely in partnership with the local community, but ensure that its children can make the most of their right to education for many years to come.
Padraig Daly said: “What inspired me to get involved with Haven was an interview I saw with former Irish rugby international Paul O’Connell, talking about his experience volunteering in Haiti. I am also looking forward to connecting the people of Westmeath and those who have supported me with the people of Haiti, through the positive stories I will bring from the trip.”