The political turmoil in Haiti made the academic year 2018/2019 a challenging one. Often there were roadblocks put in place by anti-government demonstrators which made the roads impassable.

Although the year was punctuated with periods of inability to attend classes because of the violent demonstrations and roadblocks, most students remained motivated and attended classes as the situation permitted. 28 students graduated the Montessori teacher training programme of the Peter Hesse Foundation.

Since the end of the academic year, July 2019, the situation in Haiti has grown increasingly worst. There is now an amplified element of gang activity. Anti-government demonstrations have become an everyday occurrence and roadblocks restrict movement of goods and services, affecting access to healthcare, food, education and other basic daily needs.

The negative impact on children living in an environment that is unpredictable, filled with tension and anxiety and dominated by violence is concerning. Children hear gunshots, smell burning tires used to block the roads, they cannot go outside, and spend long periods without water and food.

We cannot wait for the situation to change and get children back to the Montessori environment where they can work peacefully in an atmosphere of mutual respect and trust. An environment where they can learn the quality of empathy and understanding towards others and will be less likely to solve problems with violence. We have over 3000 children in our partner schools, hopefully they will be the voice of change and peace.

Written by Carol Guy-James.