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Great news reaches The Moodie Blog from the wonderful team working on Hand in Hand for Haiti – the travel retail industry initiative to build a world-class school in the earthquake-ravaged Caribbean country.
This week an update was sent out to the many industry donors – one we share with you here. DFS Chairman Ed Brennan and Estée Lauder Companies Travel Retailing Worldwide President Olivier Bottrie and the whole Hand in Hand team have been working exhaustively on the project in recent months (I, alas, have had to take a back seat due to my illness but I will be back with a vengeance in 2011).
We’re also delighted that our colleagues at Duty-Free News International have chosen Hand in Hand for Haiti as the nominated cause for the publisher’s annual Charity Ball (11 March, 2011) in London. Please support the event. We plan to be there in strength. More on that story to come soon.
Meanwhile, breakthroughs on many levels have been achieved in Haiti. Here’s the latest:
We continue to make fantastic progress in Haiti and want to share with you our good news.
Opening Date of Etablissement Scolaire Jean-Baptiste Pointe du Sable
Etablissement Scolaire Jean-Baptiste Pointe du Sable will open in May/June of 2011. After much internal discussion, we will expand the number of opening classes bringing the total enrolment to 200. This will allow us to completely finish construction of the school, including all administrative and support buildings.
As stated previously, Hand in Hand for Haiti is a collective travel retail industry response to the humanitarian crisis in Haiti following the catastrophic earthquake that hit the country on January 12.
The project, which has generated extraordinary industry support thanks to you, will aid the reconstruction effort in Haiti by building world-class educational facilities in an area of great need.
We are well on our way. In our 8th trip to Haiti this year, we established milestones in ensuring construction was moving forward, educators were being hired, and local government support was in place. We were successful on all fronts.
We appointed a school director, Mr. Pierre-Marie Guinet, for the complex. Mr. Guinet hails from France where he spent most of the latter years of his career until his voluntary retirement at the end of June 2010.
He visited Haiti in July with his wife Martine and realized the incredible potential and contribution he can make by joining the team. Pierre-Marie will bring with him over thirty years of experience as a teacher and as a school director in France, Canada, and Morocco. We are thrilled that an educator of his calibre will join our effort.
Pierre-Marie is now in place in Haiti. A thorough field observation is planned in the United States, Haiti, and Martinique, including training and observation sojourns at the Lycee Alexandre-Dumas of Port-au-Prince, at the School Alcibiade Pommayrac in the Southern City of Jacmel and in New York at the French Lycee of New York. In addition, Pierre-Marie will assume responsibilities over the recruitment of local and foreign teachers. He and his team will also design the school curriculum and ensure that it delivers on our commitment to be “best in class.”
We have now entered the next phase of our design and construction project. After appointing our Port-au-Prince based architects, Architecture and Design (AD) in May we approved the concept design in June and worked with our excellent on-site Project Managers, Altus Page Kirkland (APK) to move forward into detailed design.
The construction documents and bid analysis have been completed and we are happy to report that all Civil and Construction bids have been awarded.
We are in construction phase and are quite literally moving earth.
Access to the site was completed on September 20. Upon completion of the access, we began to drill for water. Unfortunately, after 1 week of drilling and reaching the 75m mark the soil was still clay with very little water. We evaluated several alternative options and decided to drill another 50 meters. We will continue to keep you updated on our efforts here.
We will begin with a 3-month summer program that will allow us to introduce our students to their fall curriculum. This opening date will also allow us to give them complete initial medical, dental, and optical check-ups. All new students will receive two healthy meals a day and are encouraged to participate in sport activities.
The naming is symbolic. Mr. du Sable, a Haitian resident of the late 1770’s is credited for being the founding father of Chicago, Illinois. Originally from Saint-Marc, Mr. du Sable bravely ventured into new territory and became, through his work, a true diplomat and entrepreneur. It is this entrepreneurial spirit and sense of hope that we wish to instil into every student of Etablissement Scolaire Jean-Baptiste Pointe du Sable.
We continue to receive strong support from the travel retail industry as well as donors from outside the industry. The support is encouraging and our committee is working hard on fundraising plans for 2011. We have recently begun our 2011 campaign that focuses on establishing 5 year grants from various donors/companies. The good news is that we have received many pledges thus far.
In addition, we are pleased to announce that Jane Ewing the newly appointed Managing Director of Diageo Global Travel and Middle East (GTME), has joined our fundraising committee.
We have also created The Moodie Multi-National Marathon to occur anywhere in the world from March 4 – 7. With proceeds benefitting Hand in Hand for Haiti, we are reaching out to the global travel retail community and using this as a platform to encourage team building both within our industry as well as to external partners. To read more about this, visit our newly relaunched website http://www.handinhandforhaiti.com and join this challenge today!
As we hope you can read from this update, we continue to move forward on all fronts and are encouraged by our progress. We hope you are as well. While many of you receiving this update have been initial and ongoing supporters of Hand in Hand for Haiti, we are also reaching out to industry leaders who may not have supported Hand in Hand for Haiti as of yet. We hope this update will inspire you to join our effort and help the children of Haiti.
Wishing you a wonderful holiday season with your friends and family.
Ed Brennan, Olivier Bottrie, Martin Moodie
Hand in Hand for Haiti Steering Committee