Sae-A Foundation inaugurates new school in Northern Haiti. (PRNewsFoto/Sae-A Trading Co. Ltd)
CARACOL, Haiti -- Sae-A Foundation, the philanthropic arm of leading global apparel manufacturer and exporter Sae-A Trading, formally celebrated the opening of its new S&H School in Haiti last Wednesday, further contributing to the country's post-earthquake reconstruction efforts.
The school, down the road from Sae-A's facility in the Caracol Industrial Park in Northern Haiti, provides free, first-class education to 200 Haitian students, with enrollment anticipated to double over the next four years.
The Sae-A Foundation hosted an inauguration ceremony attended by diplomats, government representatives, members of the private sector, non-governmental organizations and Haitian civil society.
Many of the students at the new school, which covers grades pre-Kindergarten through nine, are children of current employees at factories located within the Caracol Industrial Park, including S&H Global (Sae-A's Haiti facility). Members of the Caracol-EKAM residential area, including those who moved to Northern Haiti after the earthquake of January 2010, are also attending the S&H School.
"At Sae-A, we make investing in the communities in which we work a priority," said Sae-A chairman Woong-Ki Kim. "While our business investments create jobs and stimulate markets, we firmly believe that education is critical in ensuring a better life for future generations."
Together with the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), the Sae-A Foundation has raised over $1 million for the school establishment and long-term operations. The Foundation is also working closely with the government of Haiti and local stakeholders to ensure the school meets all requirements and provides an exceptional education to all of its students.
Currently, the school has a staff of 25, led by principal Jean Mirvil, a Haitian-American who moved back to Haiti after working at schools in New York City. He oversees 11 teachers, a nurse, and support staff. The school has worked with the community to address what have historically been barriers to Haitian education, such as inadequate funding, supply shortages, and lack of qualified teachers.
Those attending the school will learn Haitian Creole, French, and English. The curriculum incorporates the latest technology, and has been designed to contribute to boosting Haiti's competitiveness. Students are provided a free, nutritious meal every day and are encouraged to develop their art skills.
Moreover, S&H School's impact on the community goes beyond the class day. It will serve the Caracol-EKAM area by acting as a community center and hosting social events, such as English classes for the students' families.
"We know that it is important in a child's development to engage both the mind and body," said Jean Mirvil. "We are grateful to Artie Rabin, co-owner of the NBA's Brooklyn Nets, for bringing basketball to Caracol with this brand new court at the school. He has standing invitation to come play a game any time."
A ground breaking for the school took place in October 2012 during a trade delegation visit led by President Bill Clinton. Sae-A announced its work on the school as a Clinton Global Initiative Commitment in 2013, which demonstrates the company's commitment to good corporate citizenship.
Sae-A established S&H Global and began manufacturing operations in 2012. As the anchor tenant at the Caracol Industrial Park, S&H Global remains its largest employer having created thousands of jobs at its multiple factories in operation. Sae-A also plans to create thousands more jobs through its continued investment in the Caracol Industrial Park.
In Northern Haiti, where infrastructure is lacking and public transportation is limited, Sae-A is bringing in 22 brand-new commuter buses in June of this year in order to provide workers with a convenient, safe and reliable transportation option for commuting to and from work. Sae-A will support a medical mission to Haiti this year, in collaboration with the College of Nursing at George Washington University from the United States and Pusan National University Hospital from Korea.