On our first visit to the Ganthier area in 2011 there were many families living in tents, relocated from the city of Port au Prince or from hospitals in the nearby Dominican Republic after the devastating earthquake. As educators we realized there was a need for schools in the area and decided to start a long term relationship with the community to build educational initiatives.
We work with our partner schools to ensure every Haitian child has access to quality education and can develop the skills to become active participants in their community and their country. We work with talented Haitian people who have the passion and determination to help their students succeed. Our summer trips have allowed us to develop relationships with the community based on respect, collaboration and trust.
Anne Hoppenot is a native of France and has been sharing her passion for French language, culture and literature at Stuart Country Day School of the Sacred Heart in Princeton for many years. She has a master’s degree in business and worked for 10 years in finance at L’Oréal traveling around the world as an internal auditor. After moving to the US, with 4 children to raise, she switched careers and became a French teacher. Anne was inspired by Paul Farmer’s work in Haiti and, together with colleague Madelaine Shellaby, she visited the Ganthier area after the earthquake with NJ-based Foundation For Peace. During this trip the two educators decided to found an organization to support Collège Mixte Marius Carnold and other educational initiatives in the area. KONEKTE Princeton Haiti was born.
A native of England, Judy Sarvary has always enjoyed traveling and connecting with people from other cultures. She has a degree in International Studies and worked at IBM as a systems engineer before becoming a writer for a personal computing magazine. She has spent the last 30 years raising her 4 children across the US and volunteering in a variety of roles from classroom aide to writer and fundraiser. More recently she worked as an ESL teacher at Berlitz, and has volunteered with Literacy Volunteers. She visited Haiti with the first KONEKTE group trip in 2012 and was captured by the ability, enthusiasm and potential of the children and adults she met and has been part of the team ever since. She feels passionately about providing educational opportunities to all children.
Anne Hoppenot, Judy Sarvary, Hervé Hoppenot
Diery founded Collège Mixte Marius Carnold in 2006 and named it after his father who believed in the importance of education to the future of Haiti. After the massive earthquake of 2010, thousands of families were relocated to the area around Fond Parisien and Diery opened his doors to many more children even though there was little space and most could not afford to pay. New Jersey based Foundation For Peace built a new school building for the growing school. With the ongoing help of KONEKTE, the student body now approaches 350. Diery believes in equal access to education and his continued dedication to the children of Haiti is an inspiration to us.
“For me, the best schools are not the ones that take only the gifted children or those from rich families, but the ones that welcome children who cannot pay, so they too can become citizens of their country.”
– Marius Diery
The founders and staff of La Référence de Ganthier are a group of impassioned and dedicated young men who have put their own dreams aside to teach young Haitians. In just seven years they have built a school of exceptional standards, educating over 300 students in 7 grades. They have developed a well rounded curriculum including debate, art, music and dance and the students have excelled in state exams every year. The school plans to add preschool and elementary school grades for the 2020-2021 school year.
Over the past 5 years we have developed a partnership with Maison d’Enfants, a family run orphanage near Ganthier. Madame Célianie took over from her father after the earthquake and cares for the children as her own. Our summer trip volunteers always visit and we conduct games and educational activities with the children. We have gathered supplies donated by the Princeton community and sent them to the orphanage. Last year we sponsored 3 of the older children to attend La Refence and this year will sponsor 10.
Read: Mountains Beyond Mountains, by Tracy Kidder
Haiti: The Aftershocks of History, by Laurent Dubois
Haiti After the Earthquake, by Paul Farmer
Books by Edwige Danticat