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Earthquake destroys building but not dream: Nonprofit group builds library in Haiti, one book at a time

Posted by Brent on 2/12/2014
BROOKLYN, NY– Undeterred by the total destruction of their school less than two months after its grand opening in Leogane, Haiti, Fernande Valme Ministries (FVM) is rebuilding and improving the school by raising a library for some of the world’s poorest children. 

Leogane is still struggling to recover from the January 12, 2010 earthquake that killed an estimated 30,000 area residents and destroyed approximately 90 percent of the town’s buildings—including the state-of-the-art school built there by FVM, said Library Director Geraldine Valme-Daleus.

“It took 25 years to gather resources and build the school. It was two levels—huge—and totally destroyed less than two months later,” said Valme-Daleus. “But we immediately started rebuilding.” 

The partially rebuilt school educates and ensures at least one meal a day to approximately 300 students, but educating without books is a challenge. As the poorest nation in the western hemisphere, books are scarce and only 15% of Haiti’s schools have libraries. 

“English books are easy, but we need books in French [one of Haiti’s two official languages], especially French books for children ages five to 17,” said Valme-Daleus. 

A U.S. based importer of French language books, French Books Online, is working with FVM to meet this need, providing discounts and a gift registry to facilitate donations.


About Fernande Valme Ministries 
Initiated in 1973, Fernande Valme Ministries helps the Haitian population of the Flatbush area in Brooklyn meet their basic needs and face the challenges of immigrant life. The nonprofit organization has evolved to serve Leogane, one of the areas most devastated by the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, one of the poorest nations in the world.

Geraldine Valme-Daleus, FVM Library Director 
(718) 284-1809 (office)

**Please note that French Books Online is in no way affiliated with Fernande Valme Ministries and is only raising awareness.