A few years after establishing the Good Shepherd Orphanage, Pastor Cassy founded the school of “Happy Hearts”, a reference to the joy one experiences in knowing God. This is the primary school where the children of the GSO attend, but is also opened to the public so that children from the community can benefit from our educational system. We now have three schools in Port-au-Prince and one in Duparc, a farm community located about 50 miles west of Port-au-Prince.
The teachings in our schools are in compliance with the Haitian government-issued curriculum. Besides teaching academic materials, teachers are also responsible for tracking the spiritual growth of their students. The students attend a daily morning devotional prior to going to class. Teachers take turns leading the devotional, with each teacher leading it for at least one week during the school year. A Bible class is also taught to the students, beginning in middle school and continuing throughout high school. Teachings are done in both French and Haitian.
School in Carrefour
The “Happy Hearts” school is the oldest and largest school, averaging 350 students from kindergarten through high school. The staff does a superb job adhering to the original basic principles laid down by Pastor Cassy. The school marks high on government ranking for academic achievements and quality of education. Mr. Raphael Robert is the principal of this school, as well as superintendent of all our other schools. He is a pastor and civil engineer. Mr. Robert is highly qualified and passionate about Christian education.
School in Raquette
The Raquette School was built in the late 1980s near Cite Soleil in an effort to reach out to the most destitute children of the slum. Cite Soleil is the most feared slum in Haiti in terms of violence and crime. We wanted to reach out to the children in that area by providing a Christian education to counter the daily hardships and violence that surround them. This school provides education for an average of 200 children every year.
The school building was almost entirely wiped out during the 2010 earthquake. Though the building has not yet been rebuilt, children continue to attend school there due to the great need for education. We also provide food to our students in this area.
Maria Cassy Pre-School
Maria Cassy is a Day-Care/Pre-School type establishment. It is a very dear project to us because it is located in the very building where Pastor Cassy grew up, the birthplace of The Good Shepherd Orphanage. Jean Mark Desravines, the Principal, is doing a tremendous job at teaching the students skills they need to become good Christians and Haitian citizens. Jean Mark grew up at The Good Shepherd Orphanage since he was 5 years old. He holds a degree in Montessori education and is currently studying political science in Port-au-Prince.
This school’s location near the heart of Port-au-Prince is strategic in that it serves children from a variety of income levels. The children who attend this school typically have traditionally married parents, though some of the students do have single parents. The students learn about the importance of knowing God, prayer, and discipline. They learn basic reading and writing, basic conversational skills, and problem solving. With almost 100 students, it is the fastest growing of our schools. Since there is a growing demand for these types of schools near Port-au-Prince, we are hoping to expand to accommodate more children.
School in Duparc
Our school in Duparc is an extension of our church there. When the church was established in the community, we discovered that there was only one school within a 20 mile radius, so a few years later we opened a new school. That school educates 100 to 150 children every year. Most of them are children who would have never otherwise been able to attend school due to their circumstances. The school in Duparc shares the same basic principles of our other schools, and some of the teachers there are former orphans from The Good Shepherd Orphanage in Carrefour.
The cafeteria was severely damaged during the 2010 earthquake, but it has been repaired and is fully operational this year. We provide a free meal for the students every school day, thanks to our generous donors. Since most students cannot afford to pay the tuition, we also offer need-based scholarships.