A translator is working with students at Institut Edeline during a program, “Girls Voices,” which included photography lessons. Photo by Kate Sirkin

Improving educational option on island

On May 21, Edeline Felizor will be in Idyllwild to discuss the community school in Haiti, named after her, Institut Edeline, which several local residents have helped support.

Felizor, a native Haitian and nurse, was trapped in the rubble of the 2010 Haitian earthquake. In an area that had few earthquake-safety standards, the magnitude 7.0 tremor created enormous damage.

After several days, she was found. Her injuries required hospitalization and more medical attention than a local hospital could offer. She eventually arrived in San Diego, was helped and recovered. She still hasn’t returned to Haiti because of continuing health recovery.

In 2011, she visited Idyllwild and discussed her dream of building a school in her town. That has happened. It has grown from 30 students to more than 240 now, said Kate Sirkin, who has visited the school.

But the school still has needs and does not offer the facility or options of schools in the United States. Currently, they are collecting supplies in case of a future disaster.

Nearly half of Haitian children do not attend school. Nearly 70 percent of schools are not accredited. Institut Edeline is accredited, but is raising money for a new kitchen and two new classrooms to accommodate the student growth.

Not only has Sirkin donated money, but she has given time to the school. Just this past January, she visited Haiti to do work. She is excited about the progress, but encourages more support.

“I think you will find her story so touching and compelling to listen to. We are in the process of raising funds to actually convert a shipping container into a library for the school, so how fitting that she will come to speak at the library,” Sirkin wrote in an email.

At 3 p.m. Monday, May 21, Felizor will speak at the Idyllwild Library describing her school and its students