Etoile Du Matin School (Morning Star), Ile-a-Vache, Haiti
Ile-a-Vache is a small, French Haitian island on the SW corner of Haiti, 15 km. x 3 km., with 15,000 inhabitants. It is 200 km. SE of the capital, Port Au Prince and accessible only by boat. There are no rivers or springs, only wells of salty water and tanks of rain water for the richer inhabitants. There are no roads or cars and people travel around on horseback or on foot. Unlike many areas of Haiti, Ile-a-Vache has a reputation for being safe with warm, friendly and respectful people.
Etoile Du Matin School has approximately 260 students, ages 6 to 18 and nine teachers. The school was built in 1995 through funding from doctors in Spain. The school receives no government funding. Attracting and retaining qualified teachers is one of the schools major challenges as teachers’ salaries equate to approximately $125 to $166 US per year. The overseas funding is not always reliable or consistent.
As Haiti is the poorest country in the western hemisphere, the wish list for this school is vast. It includes textbooks for all levels, school supplies, library books and bookshelves to house the books. Once the basic needs are met they would like to have art and music supplies and playground equipment.
The language spoken is Creole (a blend of African and French language) so a French Immersion “sister school” is preferable. Communication will be through internet as regular mail services are unreliable.