After a catastrophic earthquake rocked the island nation of Haiti in 2010, Prince Albert and the government in Monaco leapt into action, building a school to ensure that the future of local children’s educations didn’t get trapped in the rubble.
In the aftermath of a magnitude seven earthquake that struck the impoverished Caribbean country of Haiti on 12th January 2010, killing hundreds of thousands and displacing millions, the children of the slums in the capital city of Port-au-Prince were among the worst affected.
To help alleviate some of the suffering after the devastation, the Monaco Collectif Haiti was formed. It allowed the collaboration of the Prince’s government, the Monegasque Cred Cross and roughly 20 NGOs in the mobilising of funds and support to assist in reconstruction efforts.
One of the biggest things to come out of the collective project was the building of the Prince Albert II of Monaco School or EPAM in Cité de Dieu, one of the poorest areas of Port-au-Prince.
By September 2012, the doors had opened, welcoming the first students back into the new earthquake-resistant classrooms and on 15th February 2013, Prince Albert himself visited to officially inaugurate his namesake educational centre (pictured above). Since the first, the school has had accreditation from the Ministry of National Education and Vocational Training of the Republic of Haiti.
Today, 350 children from low-income families are educated at EPAM each year. Despite the closure of the Monaco Collectif Haiti in 2016, an ongoing partnership between Monaco and a Haitian NGO, Les Centers Gheskio, has kept the school operational.
For the 2023/24 academic year, 354 pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds have been enrolled, with a 50:50 split between girls and boys.
EPAM provides all students with medical monitoring and a daily meal, as part of the World Food Program school canteen programme, in addition to teaching materials and extracurricular activities. The level of education is excellent, with 90% success rates in end-of-school-year examinations.
A fundraiser for the benefit of the children of EPAM has been initiated by students from a 3rd grade class at Charles III College in Monaco that seeks to raise awareness of the right to education in Haiti – and everywhere.
For more information, please click here.
Photo credit: Sylvain Péroumal