Signing the buildOn Covenant in Rousseau Village, Haiti

After we left Flamand Village, we traded out our broken down 4WD and headed to the village of Rousseau where 450 people were waiting to sign a covenant.  We built a school in Rousseau back in 2008 but the number of students has swelled to 450 children.  Since the maximum capacity of a buildOn school in Haiti is 225 kids, it’s time to build another.

Students in Rousseau attend class in this dilapidated school

By the time we finally rolled to a stop in the center of the village, the sounds of the celebration were deafening.  While we were absorbed into the festivities, children took turns singing songs.  Our head engineer, Clerge Garry, prepared to address the community and ask each of them to sign to our covenant.

Community members in Rousseau line up to sign the buildOn covenant

The signing of the covenant is the corner stone of any buildOn project and the most critical step in our process.  The covenant formally establishes a leadership committee of six women and six men who will organize the village to contribute all the unskilled labor to build the school.  In Haiti, that amounts to at least twenty volunteers per day or more than 2,000 volunteer work days over the duration of the project.  Most importantly, the covenant outlines that girls will go to school in equal numbers with the boys.  Gender balance in the classroom is an absolute priority for buildOn here in Rousseau, throughout Haiti, and on three different continents where we build schools.

Though many in Rousseau are illiterate and cannot sign their own names, every member of the community eagerly signed the covenant.  Either with a pen or a finger print.

Tomorrow we break ground!