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New Vocational Training School Seeks to Increase Opportunities

Written by Tim and Diane Fonderlin
March 3, 2014

Here we go again!  CONASPEH (the National Spiritual Council of Haitian Churches), a partner of many years with Global Ministries, has long focused on education as a means of transforming this island nation.  The Christian-based program houses a Classical Studies school (pre-K to 12), a School of Nursing, the St. Andrews School of Theology and a university which was established in the fall of 2013. 

The ministry’s latest effort to create educational opportunities is a vocational school which will offer 6-month to 2-year courses in:  basic house design, carpentry, welding, masonry, plumbing, electrical work, tile installation, computers, and the training of interpreters.  CONASPEH’S goal, too, is to have the students working towards international standards of certification. 

Tim has spent countless hours laying the groundwork that will help this hands-on program called the Centre Professional Ponts d Espoir d Haiti (Bridges of Hope of Haiti Professional Center) to become a reality and started the process by creating a comparison cost-list for the various tools and materials that will be needed.  Power saws, hand tools, Lincoln welders, electrical testers, and PVC pipes and fittings have become a regular part of our mealtime conversations and I have even found myself wandering the aisles of hardware stores to see if they have the items listed on the equipment and materials price list.

Next, he worked on the design for a storage unit to house all of the tools and materials for each of classes.  It needed to be a certain size, to be elevated enough so water would not be an issue, and functional enough to easily store and find needed items.  I think Tim is actually a secret engineer because he really does enjoy figuring out dimensions and how to best utilize space.

Finding appropriate curriculum has been a challenge despite contacting numerous trade schools in the U.S. and Haiti because Tim is looking for text books that offer a step-by-step approach to the different courses of study.  Furthermore the goal is to develop curriculum that not only teaches Haitian methodology but also allows students to learn techniques/processes used in other countries.

We admire the ingenuity of the many self-taught workers who are able to accomplish tasks in each of the vocational fields that CONASPEH seeks to address despite limited formal training and access to resources.  By teaching theory as well as offering hands-on experience we believe this program will help to prepare well-qualified people in these particular skills and thus create opportunities for sustainable employment.

One Great Hour of Sharing has had a part in turning possibilities into actualities for over 50 years and they continue to be a leader in transformation.  We who serve in Haiti are proud to be a part of this program that “shows the world how great is the power generated when Christians unite for a common cause.”* 

*The History of One Great Hour of Sharing

Tim and Diane Fonderlin serve in Haiti with Global Ministries partner CONASPEH - The National Spiritual Council of Churches of Haiti.

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