As the Medical Mission of the St Luke Programs was beginning in and around Cite Soleil, a new program began to emerge. While the sick were being seen by medical staff, the St Luke team began to organize informal classes for the children in these underserved communities. Over the course of several years, these informal classes turned into high functioning, state accredited schools. With one practical and focused step at a time, our educational program began to grow, one community at a time. The St Luke School System now includes twenty-nine schools serving 8000 students ranging from elementary up to high school and professional school, with an eye towards the inauguration of a new online and language university by the end of 2012.
The majority of the 27 primary schools are located in the most challenging and least served areas of Port au Prince, while several have been opened in the provinces of Haiti, including Les Cayes, Jeremie, and Fonds des Blanc. The students who graduate from our Port au Prince area primary schools then have the opportunity to attend our trailblazing secondary school, the Academy for Peace and Justice.
This school is funded by our partners Artists for Peace and Justice and managed and directed by the St Luke School Committee. We continue to build structural capacity at this school, which currently serves 800 students and will eventually serve 3000.
After high school, our students, along with some in the local community, can apply to attend our new Professional School (pictured to the bottom right), St Francis de Assisi, which will begin with 75 students this spring with courses in Nursing, Telecommunications, and Electrician Work with Solar Specialization. Eventually this school will serve 175 students, providing training in high level work with a focus on internships and on the job training.
Finally, this year we hope to inaugurate our initial class at the John Joseph Center, a top level online university and language learning center, named in memory of a St Luke employee, who perished in the earthquake. John had just begun addressing the need for improving access to higher education. We are proud to move forward with his vision in his honor.