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Belmont man travels to Haiti for annual volunteer programme

Thursday, 12 April 2018

Belmont man travels to Haiti for annual volunteer programme thumbnailNoel Ryan who is heading to Haite with Haven. MT15108JOC

HAVEN, a prominent Irish NGO working on the ground in Haiti, is undertaking its twelfth volunteer trip to Haiti from April 13-22. Long-term volunteer, Noel Ryan, from Belmont, County Offaly, along with another 35 volunteers, is setting off on this life-changing experience with Haven's 2018 Volunteer Programme.
 This year's Volunteer Programme sees the group travel to the small commune of Gressier, located two hours south-west of Haiti's capital, Port au Prince. The Volunteer Programme will play an important role in assisting and helping the people of Gressier, who are still working to rebuild their lives after the devastating earthquake in 2010. The volunteers will lead the refurbishment and upgrade of the main building of the local Jean Jean School, which has six classrooms and serves 160 children. The enhancement of the school facilities will ensure local children have access to education that will lead to bright, self-sufficient futures.
 Over the course of nineteen days, Haven's volunteers will work together to replace the school roof, repair and plaster the walls of the buildings that were destroyed by the 2010 earthquake.  The team of volunteers will also repair the kitchen on the school grounds and build a covered area for children to eat in and also provide shelter from the searing afternoon heat. The construction of a new toilet block will greatly improve the school's facilities, and ensure clean sanitation and good health for its students.
In addition to the construction element of the programme, the team will provide equipment and furniture to enable learning and education. These include new shelves for books, blackboards and desks. These new resources will enrich the school experience and make it more engaging for students. The volunteers will also create a safe area for children to play with the development of a colourful and interactive playground.
Leslie Buckley, Founder and Chairman of Haven, said: "Every year, our volunteers find this programme to be an incredibly fulfilling and rewarding challenge. Volunteers embrace the experience, getting to know the local people who will benefit from their hard work and making a deep impact which will last for many years to come. This year, our volunteers will immerse themselves in and make a positive influence on the area of Gressier, which was close to the epicentre of the 2010 earthquake. Every year, their commitment and generosity of time leaves a lasting legacy. Over 1,400 Irish and international volunteers have volunteered with Haven since 2009: each and every town in Ireland should be proud of the volunteers for their humanitarian efforts in Haiti."
Noel Ryan, Haven volunteer from Belmont, County Offaly, said: "This is my ninth trip to Haiti with Haven. I truly suggest to all those who are interested in volunteering to get involved: Haiti and the volunteer experience you have there will change you in ways you never thought possible. I think this trip will be very rewarding, and I look forward to transforming a damaged school in Haiti that will have a positive impact on the local children and community for years to come."

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