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  Mortel School in Haiti



Dr. Rodrigue Mortel was Vice Dean of the School of Medicine and Director of the Penn State University Cancer Center, when he was introduced to our club through our work with the Cancer Research Endowment we established at the Hershey Medical Center.  Upon learning his life-story and his charitable effort to create and maintain a school in his home country of Haiti, our club become committed to supporting some students each year.   You can read his biography here.

Haiti is a breeding ground for revolution where violence is a fact of life.  It is proven that Haiti has more weapons than people  (population 8,000,000!)  There is too much turnover of the political leadership (32 coups de etat) to make much progress for the general population.  80% of the people are illiterate and 80% are unemployed.  One in five children die in their youth.  10% of Haitians hold 90% of all wealth in the country. The most basic problem is poverty, and this will only be beaten by education. This is why Dr. Mortel established his school program.   He opened the school, "Le Bon Samaritains" or Good Samaritan School, in 2001.  You can read more about the operation of the school at the Mortel Foundation website.  It it only for the poorest of the poor. 

 The children who attend are hand-picked from an impoverished neighborhood.  Most of the children are malnourished when they begin to attend the school.  It is impossible to teach empty stomachs, so the school provides two meals per day, a uniform, and all school supplies.  It opened in 2001 with just a Kindergarten class, but now has 207 students, equally divided between male and female, in grades K-2.   The students are taught the English, French and Creole languages by Grade 2, plus how to use a computer.  Dr. Mortel is proud to state that this is a God-centered program that has the students praying daily for their benefactors, their neighbors and their country.  December 3rd is celebrated as the Feast of the School-- on Dr. Mortel's birthday!  



One of his goals is not small-- he hopes to have one of his students become the President of Haiti in the next 25 years!  When Dr. Mortel travels to Haiti he always takes Americans with him.  Often he brings college students on a mission trip to teach the stories of the Bible and to act them out for the students.   This is the only school of its type in Haiti, and our club support is essential to its success.  Our club sponsors 7 students at the cost of $300/student/year.  At present most of the students are sponsored by Rotary clubs, churches, and individuals, and additional sponsorships are always needed.  The staff at the Good Samaritan School share progress reports with us so we can see that we are truly making a difference in the lives of the seven children we sponsor.

   The school also provides a literacy program for adults in the evening hours when the children are gone.  Additionally, it is used to teach young women embroidery and sewing, to give them a useful skill to earn money for their families.  In the future, plans for the school include the addition of a trade school to teach carpentry, electrical service, plumbing and steel construction.  Additionally, the school is applying for funding to become a Health Center and to establish a much-needed vaccination program.