Bloomington man building earthquakes and hurricanes resilient schools in Haiti

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Haiti: A Bloomington man is giving a ray of hope to the children of Haiti by trying to build schools that are less resistant to earthquakes and hurricanes, for which he also created a charity.

A man named Steve Johnson is a retired video producer. Johnson founded an organization called “the PEACE Project” in Haiti that built and operates three free schools in Haiti. Those schools provide an education to around 550 students.

Here, PEACE stands for – Promoting Education and Community Empowerment. Johnson got involved in Haiti shortly before a devastating earthquake that took place in the year of 2010.

His charity is building a new school to replace a current school that operates out of an old house in Carrefour. He stated that “The earthquake taught me that the concrete and building methods of Haiti were terrible. Part of the reason so many buildings fell down, and around 250,000 people died in 2010 is because the construction methods have been so poor, they cut corners when making concrete and don’t put as much rebar in things.”

He added that seeing the current situation of Haiti’s education, Johnson feels disappointed. Talking about PEACE, he noted that “PEACE Project offers mostly free education, while even public schools in Haiti require families pay for their children to attend. Our heart goes out to them. It’s a wretched, incredibly difficult place to live.”

“The gangs are taking over,” he further added. So far, the charity has spent $650,000 on the three schools over the last decade. The charity is funded through private donors and depends on an all-volunteer staff and board of directors, Johnson further noted.

Johnson stated that he totally understands the urge to assist people within US borders first, but he noted that organizations like his offer the only hope many Haitian people could have.