There are approximately 2,450 Catholic schools operating across Haiti through the Catholic Diocese. Many of these schools are in the country's most impoverished regions. Most, if not all, of these schools have extremely limited access to any type of web-based educational activities. This results in a disconnect between students in Haiti and the rest of the world, placing these students at an extreme disadvantage compared to those in the most developed countries.
Mobile Libraries' Progress & Impact
Partnership for Success
At the University of Notre Dame (South Bend, IN, USA), the Global Center for Development of the Whole Child (GC-DWC) is committed to eliminating this disparity through the creation of computer-based learning centers at each of these schools. These centers must be constructed by necessity due to the electronic equipment requiring a clean, well-ventilated environment for safe storage and proper service to electricity.
The Kwasans Foundation, in support of this effort, has developed a low-cost approach to provide these centers by converting used shipping containers into web-based libraries. Wirth Development, under the leadership of Tim Riley, created the prototype for the mobile libraries. Wirth Development is building nine additional units to ship to Haiti, with the remaining to be built in Haiti.
The Kwasans Foundation has partnered with Sound Design Build, a woman-owned and operated architectural and contracting company based in Kitty Hawk NC to create a standard design for the mobile library project. Sound Design created an efficient framework, modeled out of shipping containers, and easily duplicated. Through several iterations, the design fulfilled all storage needs, program requirements, and ideal furniture layouts. The final plans will be shared with local Haitian tradesmen throughout the country for a seamless construction process.
The University of Notre Dame GC-DWC has placed an initial order for 30 libraries. The first set of ten libraries have been constructed in Chesapeake, Virginia and in-transport to Haiti. Twenty units are scheduled to be built in Haiti which will allow significant cost savings, as well as providing employment for up to ten Haitians.
The end product has exceeded initial expectations with new designs being considered that would allow multiple units to be combined to increase square footage and expanded uses. Construction in Haiti will be done in conjunction with the Kwasans Entrepreneurial Center located at the University of Notre Dame - Hinche’s Vocational Education program. This program is an example of the approach being taken by the Kwasans Foundation to support programs that are Haitian controlled, thus allowing wealth to be created in Haiti for the benefit of Haitians.