Help finish one of just two high schools in Pestel

Children “commute” to school in Pestel from a nearby island

Thriving Villages International has the opportunity to establish the second high school in Pestel, Haiti, where 70,000 people live!.

While visiting a remote elementary school in the Haitian mountain village of Carrefour Citron, I spoke with Jeannel, a sixth-grader. His favorite subject is math, and he has a ready smile. He can’t attend high school because none exists in or near town. His teacher works for free. The principal of the St. Claire d’Assiz school told me, “Teachers do not consider themselves working here but doing a service to the community.” Only 3 of the 6 elementary teachers received a small salary – about $20 a month.

We have an opportunity to invest in the next generation and complete a high school for students like Jeannel! Basic construction is complete on a 3-room high school in Pestel, and Thriving Villages is looking for partners to invest in the education of rural Haitians. The $10,000 needed would complete construction of three high school classrooms – lay flooring, construct doors, benches, and chalkboards – at St. Francis school in Pestel. More than that, it would give hope and a future to a region that desperately needs both.

While the region of Pestel, Haiti, has elementary schools scattered throughout the mountain villages, education beyond 6th grade only exists in the town of Pestel at St. Francis School. This school only currently serves children who live within walking distance (about 2 hours one way). In order to obtain a high school education, parents must send their children far away to cities such as Port-au-Prince and Jeremie. In many cases, teens do not return to the rural area of Pestel.

In order to keep Pestel’s best and brightest students, Pestel needs a high school. Work is already underway.

Thriving Villages International is partnering with Father Parnel Lundy, the area’s priest. Father Parnel has a track record of educational success in Pestel. He currently oversees 8 schools, including the St. Francis School in Pestel. His are the only schools we are aware of that consistently demonstrate high student performance – 100% of students in 6th grade (about 20) passed the national exams for the past 2 years. Since arriving in Pestel in 2006, Father Parnel has set high standards for the children with a focus on excellence and discipline. In response, parents and teachers increased their commitment to education.

Last year he was able to add a 9th grade, and in 2014 he intends to add the remaining high school grades once the classrooms are finished. Pestel will have, for the first time, the ability to provide high school education. Giving to this project which will reap benefit for generations!

In a recent letter, Father Parnel said, “Because the school knows the parents’ situation, it accepts children for the whole year without paying. There are children who tell me, ‘Father, I have not eaten in 2 days, I’m hungry and my stomach hurts.’ Others tell me, ‘Father, last night I didn’t sleep because it rained and my mother’s house leaks.’” While seeing present needs clearly, he – and we – are excited about future opportunities. Rarely can a small gift do so much good.

Because of TVI’s network of 19 in-country health workers, combined with our commitment to the region, 100% of donations go directly to finishing the school. Any extra will go toward teachers’ salaries and building upkeep.

To donate, visit our website at, our blog at, or send a check to Thriving Villages International, 1601 Susan Lane Mechanicsburg, PA 17055. Please write “Education Fund” in the memo.

Thanks for your love and support. We pray that the outpouring of relief to some of the poorest people in the Western Hemisphere continues as well, as we work to provide education, medical supplies, clean water, and hope for the people in Haiti.

Again and again, I see God’s love pour out in so many ways.


Dr. Ben Fredrick
President, Thriving Villages International

Construction of 3 new High School classrooms in Pestel—almost complete!

Note from the Thriving Villages International Board:

The Board of Directors of TVI strongly supports this project. Quality educational programs strengthen communities in so many ways. It is especially significant and rewarding to be able to complete a project in which local people have already invested so much. I and other Board members have pledged our prayer and financial support, and we invite you to join us with your generous contribution.

John W. Eby, Chair, Board of Directors