Rise Haiti is a non-for profit organization that was founded in 2012 by students of the SIM Master program at the University of St. Gallen. The organization's main focus is to improve the living and learning environment of kindergarten and school children in Haiti, mainly in the area around the capital Port-au-Prince. Already in its first year, the organization was able to provide the funds necessary to build an additional classroom for a primary school. In the following year, the project succeeded to support a school with the funds to build a hand-washing facility, countering the lack of hygiene. In 2015, we built a playground for the children of a school in Ouanaminthe, a city in the North-East of the country.
To build on this project and fulfill another desire of the pupils, we are planning to create a sports facility for the school. The children in Ouanaminthe have to walk up to two hours to school. This can be very demotivating, especially if they also have to work at home, so that many children decide not to come to school. This results in a lack of education and a lost generation that could otherwise help to improve other problems in Haiti in the future. In addition, children/teenagers in Haiti have little time and opportunities to play and have fun in their daily life. The UN established in Article 31 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child “That every child has the right to rest and leisure, to engage in play and recreational activities appropriate to the age of the child and to participate freely in cultural life and the arts. That member governments shall respect and promote the right of the child to participate fully in cultural and artistic life and shall encourage the provision of appropriate and equal opportunities for cultural, artistic, recreational and leisure activity.” Play is necessary for the emotional and psychological development of children. Children and teenagers in Haiti are often deprived of this right at home and need another opportunity to engage in play.
Therefore, our project to build sports facilities at the school in Ouanaminthe will address two social needs: The need for education by providing fun activities as a motivation to come to school, the enhancement of social skills such as teamwork, discipline and leadership through sports, as well as the necessity for children to play and rest from work.