Denis Puthiot, French volunteer in collaboration with Pastor Justin, Haitian, founded in 1982 a small school in the Cité Soleil, quickly integrated into the program of “small schools” of Father Bohnen, Salesian. It was called the Ecole Mixte Saint-Alphonse at the suggestion of the Salesian Fathers.
Denis Puthiot has become the representative of SOS Enfants since January 1983, SOS Enfants becoming the main funder of the school.
The Ecole Mixte Saint-Alphonse, originally built of straw and sheet metal, with a staff of 200 students, was permanently rebuilt in 1986 by the French Embassy and inaugurated in 1987 by the Haitian Secretary of State for 'National Education, Madame Franck Paul and French in la Francophonie, Madame Lucette Michaux-Chevry.
Its enrollment quickly rose to 400 students and then to more than 1000 with its annex, built in a very disadvantaged district of Brooklyn.
The activities, intended for the most disadvantaged children in the area, are then multiple: preschool, primary, secondary and vocational schools, adult literacy, school canteen (CRS, BND), nutritional recovery center, health and school screening program and community, cultural and sports programs, library.
Two other associations very quickly joined SOS Enfants as regular funders for school activities, APAM, of Nîmes (France) and the Association of citizens of Nidda, Bürgerverein Nidda (Germany).
In November 1987, the International Human Rights Prize of the French newspaper Lacroix was awarded to SOS Enfants for its action in the Cité Soleil, through the Saint-Alphonse schools.
In March 1989, visit of Madame François Mitterrand, President of France Libertés.
In March 1993, creation of the OEP, Organization of Provincial Schools , bringing together around thirty schools in rural areas, often very remote, in eight departments, with a view to participating upstream in slowing the migration of peasants from the provinces to shanty towns.
In 1995, construction of the La Plaine center in Fourgy.
From 1994 to 1999, very important school canteen program (CRS, BND) and school and community health thanks to the aid of Echo, the European Union and the French Cooperation Mission, programs extended to the provincial schools of the OEP as well as the schools of the Cité Soleil (44 schools) of which more than 18,000 students are beneficiaries. A large training program of two weeks per year is also intended for teachers in provincial schools.
September 1998, flooding of the Center de La Plaine, headquarters of the Organization, by Cyclone Georges , with a water level of over 1.80m, resulting in the loss of all archives, materials, including the generator and computers , which precipitated the closure of the orphanage housed in the center.
Health center at the Fourgy hospital, the CHF, intended for the population: consultations, pharmacy and laboratory, hospital center with an operating theater (2001-2004)
The CHF became the CMEF the Medico-Educational Center of Fourgy in 2005 with the opening of the school annex.
thus maintaining growing insecurity coupled with growing poverty among the population.
However, the Saint-Alphonse School continues to operate thanks to the courage of the teachers and employees in very difficult security conditions. The numbers are down. Many families are fleeing the Cité Soleil.
The Annex of Fourgy, located 10 minutes by car from the Cité Soleil, opened its doors in September 2005, partially welcoming students from the city living in the plain, with six primary classes.
The two schools operate with difficulty with the unconditional support of Apam, Nidda and SOS Enfants with a sponsorship system. School fees claimed from students are very low (5 to 15 US dollars per year), they are only really paid by a little over 50% of the students, which can only contribute too little to the functioning of the schools.
In 2006, the Ecole Saint-Alphonse, Cité Soleil had a great surprise by distinguishing itself at the national level, with one of its students, National Laureate in Philo A.
Start of the micro credit program in 2009 for parents, in support of small businesses, thanks to SOS Enfants.
On January 12, 2010, the earthquake devastated the Saint-Alphonse School in Cité Soleil, that of La Plaine, more recent, resisted better. Almost all of Cité Soleil's premises have seen their bases and posts deformed. We therefore had to urgently demolish them and prepare a room, located just in front of the school to welcome the students as quickly as possible. The provisional premises, located on land in front of the school, thanks to assistance from CDC Tiers Monde in particular, were able to accommodate the students from April.
A reconstruction program for the Saint-Alphonse school group, undertaken by SOS Enfants and largely co-financed by the Fondation de France, was able to start quickly. We were first able to extend the school on land adjoining it and first rebuild the nursery or preschool part (2010-2011) on independent land as well as the school latrines.
The secondary part, 8 classrooms, followed, then the 7 primary classrooms, completed by the management building, work carried out from 2012 to 2015. All new constructions are all on one level, without floor, given the unstable state of the ground, thus respecting all the seismic and anticyclonic standards.
The schools have been operating since then, more or less normally, with always some financial difficulties. Financial aid from donors, SOS Enfants, Apam and Nidda is not really sufficient to ensure the salaries of employees, which are still far too low compared to the cost of living. These salaries deserve a substantial increase to allow employees to have a more decent life.
However, certain special activities for pupils, financed in large part by SOS Enfants make it possible to organize from time to time small parties in schools, sea days, the organization of summer clubs as well as school books and uniforms distributed mainly to high school students participating in sponsorships. The school canteen continues to operate irregularly with the help of SOS Enfants and the French Cooperation.
From 2016, an apparent peace returned to the Cité Soleil allowing better conditions for the functioning of schools and the population in general.
The 2017-2018 school year in September was difficult and gradually given the discontent of parents over economic difficulties and political instability. The New Secondary program, advocated by the Ministry of National Education, is applied by the Saint-Alphonse mixed school despite the material, technological and training difficulties that this entails.
However, the Ecole Mixte Saint-Alphonse is still a benchmark in the Cité Soleil with good results in official exams.
The 2019-2020 school year was very difficult with political instability, the country "lock" blocking the activities of the population and schools in particular. Activities gradually resumed at the end of the 1st quarter but had to stop again because of the Covid 19 pandemic and the closure of schools on March 19, 2020.
Since June 2020, there has been an upsurge in armed fighting between heads of armed bands for the control of neighborhoods in anticipation of possible upcoming elections. These fights cause many victims in the population and prevent all non-urgent displacements.
Cité Soleil School
18 ° 34'51.6 "N 72 ° 19'59.0" W
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18 ° 36'59.9 "N 72 ° 18'49.7" W