The devastation in Haiti has acted as a clarion call for international action and assistance. Leaders in the industry are answering the call, responding with compassion and a bold long-term strategy for the future of Haiti.

Education is the single most important determinant of an individual's potential to escape poverty in Haiti. High quality education in a world-class school is key to the growth, strength and long-term recovery of Haiti and vital to the spirit and independence of its people. Working as partners with the local government in the Commune of Saint-Marc, Hand in Hand for Haiti is embarking on an ambitious and essential plan to finance, build and operate a landmark school that will be accessible to all local children and provide excellence at every level of education.



Why the need for world-class education?

On January 12, 2010, a devastating earthquake struck Haiti, leaving at least 230,000 dead and injuring tens of thousands more. 

The country's already fragile infrastructure suffered incomparable devastation. The earthquake caused catastrophic suffering across the country. This has been a disaster on the most terrible of scales and, as always in a disaster zone, the youngest are among the worst affected.

An estimated 80 percent of buildings in the heart of the capital's downtown area were destroyed.

Approximately 4,000 schools and 30,000 classrooms were destroyed in a 40km zone around Port-au-Prince.

Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, with 80 percent of the population living below the poverty line on less than US two dollars a day. An estimated 55 percent are illiterate. Its people will need our support long into the future.



How Hand in Hand for Haiti began

In the aftermath of this disaster, leaders in the travel retail industry partnered with Hand in Hand for Haiti as part of a pan-industry initiative to make a bold and compassionate response through designing, building and operating a new sustainable school. Since the expansion of the foundation, the organization is no longer limited to the travel retail industry and is supported across all industries and nations.

The state-of-the-art complex offers accessible education from kindergarten to 13th grade, in an area of great need, the Commune of Saint-Marc, which took on 32,000 refugees after the earthquake and is strategically situated between two major fault lines – which offers its people protection from devastations that hurricane winds bring with them. 




Our response

Design, build and help operate a school in an area of great need in Haiti, covering all cycles of the Haitian Ministry of Education, from nursery school to baccalaureate

Optimize local job creation and uphold equitable labor policies on the construction site and within the school

Accompany local policies to further Haiti's economic development, including:

Provide long-term financial, management and academic supervision

Provide students with tri-lingual Creole/English/French tuition-free education with best in class academic standards

Provide basic health services, psychological counseling and nutritious meals to students

Be an active and involved community participant and ensure that the project positively impacts the entire local community

Be a model in environmental protection and sustainability practices

Run the foundation with strict governance principles, processes and control mechanisms alongside strong financial discipline

Achieve initial endowment, principally from donors within the travel retail industry

Achieve sustainable yearly fundraising goals through an annual grant system, initially targeting existing corporate and individual donors


Vision and goals