The Digicel Foundation yesterday celebrated one of the finest moments in the history of education in Haiti with the opening of its 150th school in the country with the Minister of National Education and Vocational Training, Mr. Nesmy Manigat, in attendance.

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A view of the new school buildings at the Ecole Nationale de Grande Savane

The 150th school – the Ecole Nationale de Grande Savane – was founded in 2011. Prior to the Digicel Foundation’s intervention, the school had been operating in extremely basic facilities which were not conducive to learning. Now, it has brand new buildings that meet modern earthquake and hurricane-resistant standards. The fully-furnished school has nine new classrooms, administrative offices, a playground, sanitary facilities, a computer lab and a library.

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The 150th school – the Ecole Nationale de Grande Savane – was officially opened by Digicel Chairman and Patron of the Foundation, Denis O’Brien, School Principal, Isaac Césaire, and Haiti Minister of National Education and Vocational Training, Nesmy Manigat

Commenting on the inauguration, Digicel Chairman and Patron of the Digicel Foundation, Denis O’Brien, said; “This is a proud occasion for the Digicel Foundation as we mark the inauguration of the 150th school built as part of our construction programme which started back in 2007. Today, 50,000 children attend these schools.”

He continues; “The development of Haiti and its future relies heavily on the investment made in children today and Digicel remains committed to improving education in Haiti – in partnership with the Ministry of Education. In fact, we are now starting a new two-year programme that will directly and indirectly benefit some 20,000 children. Access will be improved through a construction programme to provide more schools and a reinvestment programme in the existing schools – in addition to providing teacher training for 500 teachers.”

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Over 50,00 children are now getting an education in more comfortable surroundings thanks to the Digicel Foundation’s school building initiative in Haiti

Digicel Haiti Foundation Chairwoman, Mrs. Josefa Gauthier, said; “What we are feeling today is comparable to what an athlete feels when they cross the finish line of a marathon. The only difference is that our work is far from complete. We have made a commitment to continue to help improve the quality of education in Haiti and a lot remains to be done. The Ecole Nationale de Grande Savane is a key milestone in our programme to build schools throughout the country and is symbolic of our vision for constant improvement.”

Principal of Ecole Nationale de Grande Savane, Isaac Césaire, said; “19th November 2014 is a day of celebration for our teachers and students who endured every possible calamity due to the disastrous conditions we had in our previous school. There are no words today to express our profound gratitude to the Digicel Foundation. The entire community of Grande Savane is extremely grateful.”

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Digicel Chairman and Patron of the Foundation, Denis O’Brien, speaks at the inauguration of the 150th school built in Haiti by the Digicel Foundation

To date, the Digicel Foundation has invested over US $30 million in its school building project, completing 150 schools and creating more than 10,500 construction jobs.

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