A Dundalk father and daughter team are set to travel to Haiti with 'Haven', a prominent Irish NGO working on the ground in the country, as part of a volunteer trip from 13-22 April 2018.
Dave McCooey and his daughter Aislinn from Knockbridge, just outside Dundalk, along with 34 other volunteers, are setting off on this life-changing trip with Haven’s 2018 Volunteer Programme.
This year’s Volunteer Programme sees the group travel to the small commune of Gressier, located two hours south-west of Haiti’s capital, Port au Prince. The Volunteer Programme will play an important role in supporting the people of Gressier, who are still working to rebuild their lives after the devastating earthquake in 2010.
Volunteers will lead the refurbishment and upgrade of the main building of the local Jean Jean School, which has six classrooms and serves 160 children. The enhancement of the school facilities will ensure local children have access to education that will lead to bright, self-sufficient futures.
Over the course of their time in Haiti, Haven’s volunteers will work together to replace the school roof, and repair and plaster the walls of the buildings that were badly damaged by the 2010 earthquake. The team of volunteers will also repair the kitchen on the school grounds and build a covered area for children to eat in and enjoy shelter from the searing afternoon heat. The construction of a new toilet block will greatly improve the school’s facilities, ensuring clean sanitation and good health for its students.
In addition to the construction element of the programme, the team will provide equipment and furniture to enable improved learning and education. These include new bookshelves, blackboards and desks to enrich the school experience and make it more engaging for students. The volunteers will also create a safe area for children to play with the development of a colourful and interactive playground.
Dave McCooey, said: “This year’s Volunteer Programme marks my eighth time travelling to Haiti with Haven, and my daughter Aislinn is travelling with me for her fourth time. We’re both really looking forward to returning to Haiti.
"The Volunteer Programme is so rewarding. It is truly eye-opening to see what families like ours face every day in Haiti, and we feel very fortunate to share this experience together. We know the work we will do in Haiti will transform the local school in Gressier and it’s great to be a part of that”.