Four Fingal volunteers will travel to Haiti this week to help rebuild a school destroyed in a devastating earthquake eight years ago.

Geoff Duff from Skerries, Arlene Hetherington from Santry, and Malahide residents Michael Marangos and Joanne Martin are among a group of 36 people travelling with Irish aid agency Haven.

They will travel to the small commune of Gressier, located two hours south-west of the capital Port au Prince, and spend ten days helping the community there.

The volunteers will lead the refurbishment and upgrade of the main building of the local Jean Jean School, which has six classrooms and caters for 160 children.

Arlene revealed that this is her first trip with Haven, a non-government organisation (NGO) which has brought volunteers to the stricken island 12 times since 2010.

She told Dublin Gazette: “I’m really excited for the trip. I’ve heard so much from the veteran volunteers about Haiti and the difference that the work being carried out there makes.

“I can’t wait to experience it all first-hand. The support I’ve had from friends and family in taking on this fantastic opportunity has been phenomenal.”

Over the course of the 10 days Haven’s volunteers will work together to replace the school roof, and repair and plaster walls of the buildings damaged by the tremor.

They will also build a new toilet block, repair a kitchen on the school grounds, and build a covered area for children to eat and shelter from the searing afternoon sun.

The team will bring essential supplies with them including new bookshelves, blackboards and desks and the elements for an interactive playground.

Haven founder and chair Leslie Buckley said: “This year our volunteers will make a positive influence on the area of Gressier, which was close to the epicentre of the 2010 earthquake.
“Every year their commitment and generosity of time leaves a lasting legacy.”


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