Justice, Peace and the Integrity of Creation

Sisters Ann Irene Howard, Maureen O’Brien and Denise Curry visited Sister Jeannette Pierre-Louise and the Notre Dame Family Learning Center (NDFLC) in Les Cayes, Haiti. Sister Jeannette founded and administers the Center and is helped by a number of teachers and volunteers including some Notre Dame Mission Volunteers.

Sister Jeannette gave her visitors a tour of the facilities before they rolled up their sleeves to help with various tasks. The first visit was the Notre Dame Family Learning Center. Fifty percent of Haitian children do not attend school where there is a shortage of educational supplies and qualified teachers. It is a blessing to be a Notre Dame presence and offer educational services to many children in the neighborhood, who would likely not have an opportunity for education except for the Center.

Further away is a second learning center that Jeannette directs. It houses a group of kindergarten students and also women developing baking and sewing skills. In another part of the Notre Dame Center, a group of about twelve women embroider Haitian scenes on skirts. Due to the difficulty in affording an education, forty-three percent of Haitian women are illiterate. The embroidery and sewing skills taught at the Center enable women to earn a respectable living selling what they have made.

As Sisters of Notre Dame it was a great community experience to visit with Sister Jeannette and the Notre Dame Mission Volunteers and to provide some direct hands-on assistance to the ministry. While there is great poverty in the area, the people of Haiti are warm and joyful and the spirit of the Notre Dame Family Learning Center is vibrant. We will share more stories about the Notre Dame Family Learning Center in the days ahead.

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