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Building Back Better – Pazapa School, Haiti

A classroom very well lighted with brand new tables and chairs
One of the classrooms built in the new PAZAPA Center.

The first accessible, para-seismic, hurricane-proof school building in Haiti – the Pazapa Centre – was inaugurated on February 27, 2015 in Jacmel.

School premises in Pazapa

The initial school premises that Pazapa rented were destroyed by the 2010 earthquake. Thereafter, the inception, funding and eventual construction of the Pazapa center has been a combination of partnerships within CBM and with external stakeholders.  The result is a model school building that is part of a comprehensive program co-funded by BMZ.

Pazapa (which means step-by-step in Haitian Creole), is a local partner that was founded in 1987 and runs a special education and deaf education school in Jacmel, a seaside town in the South East of Haiti. 173 learners are currently attending the Pazapa School – 81 girls and 92 boys. Among the 173 are 37 deaf children and another 10 simultaneously attend mainstream schools.

Inauguration event

People sitting in chairs under a tent ©CBM
From left to right: Represenatives from Plan International Haiti; his Excellency Klaus Peter Schick, German Ambassador to Haiti; Stefan Dofel and Regine Polynice from CBM; and Ecclesiaste Telemaque, from the Ministry of Education.
Representatives from the Government of Haiti, local authorities and delegates from the involved organisations participated in the inauguration event.

During his speech at the inauguration, the Deputy General Director of Haiti’s Ministry of Education and Professional Development said that he would inform the Directorate of School Engineering to visit Pazapa and use it as a model for other school constructions in Haiti. CBM has ensured that construction of Building 1 and 2 of Pazapa respected all legal building and accessibility standards.

In his speech at the inauguration, the Ambassador of Germany in Haiti, His Excellency Klaus Peter Schick, mentioned that his government was proud of the collaboration with CBM and the good construction work done at Pazapa. He added that although the project was costly, it was value for money considering the technical specifications of the building.

Technical and financial support from CBM

Following the technical support of CBM to promote accessibility in public and private buildings in Haiti (which, with few exceptions, has been presenting accessibility upgrades of already-existing buildings following accessibility audits), the construction of Pazapa presented an excellent opportunity through which CBM was able to successfully influence and demonstrate how to achieve an accessible and structurally safe school.

Building 1 was funded by CBM as well as Plan International Haiti. It comprises of classrooms, an early intervention room, an infirmary, a therapy room and a sanitation block. Building 2 was again funded by CBM in collaboration with BMZ. This comprises an administration block, staff room, and computer room, family projects room, kitchen, an additional classroom and a sanitation block.

Besides the construction of Building 2, CBM and BMZ further collaborated with Pazapa to improve the lives of children with disability and their families in Jacmel and surrounding zones. Therefore, with co-funding of BMZ, Pazapa has strengthened its community-based rehabilitation program, micro-credit, health and advocacy programs alongside special education over the past two years.

Key achievements

Besides ongoing running of the school which is due to be fitted with solar energy equipment, the key achievements of this program are:

  • In Jacmel and the surrounding areas, 80 children with epilepsy receive medical attention, 35 children are receiving speech therapy, 19 children are receiving physiotherapy and 14 children with club-foot are undergoing treatment.
  • 72 parents of children in Pazapa school (and 20 parents who live too far for their children with disabilities to attend Pazapa school) have received micro-loans to boost their existing enterprises.
  • Community-based volunteers, parents and teachers of Pazapa have received various relevant capacity development opportunities.

In addition to continuing other activities, through 2015 CBM funding, Pazapa is reaching out to regular schools to strengthen inclusive education.

More information


How CBM works, with partners, to improve the quality of life of people with disabilities in Haiti


Success in the Caribbean Sea

Adrecienne is a fish monger in Haiti who had attainable economic goals but needed a boost in order to reach them faster. CBM gave that boost



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