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Haitian Students Affected by Earthquake Enrolled at U of W

October 2, 2010 7:30 AM | News

By David Klassen

Residents walk past buildings destroyed in an earthquake in downtown Port-au-Prince September 28, 2010. Eight months after the magnitude 7 quake that shattered large parts of Port-au-Prince, killing up to 300,000 people, more than 1 million people left homeless by one of the world's worst disasters are still living in the camps and critics say reconstruction efforts have barely gotten under way. REUTERS/ Eduardo Munoz (HAITI - Tags: DISASTER ENVIRONMENT)

Five students from Haiti arrived this week to the University of Winnipeg to begin attending classes, after a devastating earthquake in January destroyed the country’s educational infrastructure.

Vanessa K. Laurent and Helena Vickaina Lafleur were both 4th year students enrolled in International Relations at Quisqueya University. When their school collapsed, they were buried alive, but later rescued and pulled to safety. Both sustained injuries.

Jaquet Duval, Jean Widny Pervil and Samy Archille are from State University of Haiti’s Department of Linguistics. They were buried in rubble and many of their classmates and professors did not survive.

The U of W is footing the bill to the five students, all in their twenties, to continue their studies including airfare, tuition, residence fees, meal plans and counselling.

The university is appealing to the public to raise $50,000 to cover additional costs such as clothing, books and school supplies, medical supports, monthly allowances and return airfares to Haiti. The U of W says these five students will be enrolled in Winnipeg for a minimum of two years. Any monies raised beyond the $50,000 will go to support the students in year two of their studies.

A fundraiser Creole welcome breakfast in their honour is planned for Friday, October 8 from 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. in Pangea’s Kitchen at Riddell Hall, 515 Portage Avenue.

The public is invited to attend. Admission is $20 at the door via cash, cheque, Interac, Visa or Matercard.

Some of the buffet style menu items include warm corn tortillas, smokey pinto beans, red rice, scrambled eggs, fresh cilantro, fresh fruit slices, banana bread, yogurt, fresh orange juice and more.

Donations will be accepted during the breakfast with an income tax receipt provided.

Donations can also be made to the Haitian Student Bursary Support anytime by contacting the University of Winnipeg Foundation at (204) 786-9995 or online at UWinnipegFoundation.ca.