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Overhauling Haiti

Demeter Russafov (Amurt)

Overhauling Haiti (continued)

Where Will Haitians Be Educated?

As a Johns Hopkins student, I have been listening attentively to the ongoing discussions about the role that Hopkins and other universities might play in the rebuilding of Haiti. Essentially, every institution of higher learning in Haiti has been flattened. In a situation like this, Port-au-Prince’s university students are already asking, where will they continue their education?

An important question we must ask on a broader level is, Who will lead Haiti out of this disaster with no schools—literally no buildings—left to train and educate future leaders? Even before the earthquake, graduate students dealt with crowded classrooms and few opportunities. But with many schools still indefinitely closed, rising Haitian physicians, accountants and business leaders have little hope for continuing their schooling.

Institutions like Hopkins have much to offer. Much as Tulane’s students were accepted at universities across the nation after Hurricane Katrina, schools of public health might save spaces or scholarships for Haitian students. While Haiti overflows with innumerable NGOs, few U.S. institutions of higher education have satellite or partner institutions in Haiti. Any involvement could not be timelier.

Haiti’s reaction to the earthquake is a testament to the fact that Haitians will move on, survive this tragedy and sustain themselves. My fervent hope is that the Haiti that emerges will display real economic, human rights and public health progress.

Jane Andrews, an MPH student, was researching iodine deficiency in Département of Artibonite when the earthquake hit. Soon after the quake, she and three fellow MPH students rushed to Port-au-Prince to help with relief efforts.

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