The Digicel Foundation was still being established in Haiti when an eager group of Digicel employees headed to Ecole Mixte Lageho, a primary school in the rural community of Thomazeau. The school was a dilapidated, windowless, tin structure with dirt flooring, no partitions between the classrooms, and no furniture for the students. On that day, it became clear to those Digicel employees, that improving the learning environment for the estimated 200 children who attended that school, would become Digicel Foundation’s first project in Haiti.
On March 7th, 2007, less than six months after the initial visit to Ecole Mixte Lageho, the Digicel Foundation was officially launched in a joyous ceremony that marked the completion of the rebuilding of Ecole Mixte Lageho in record time. The primary school, with six new fully furnished classrooms, and a proper administration had become a bright and energizing learning center. The day was drawing to a close when Denis O’Brien, Digicel Chairman and Digicel Foundation Patron, who travelled to Haiti for the special occasion, announced that he had a new challenge for the team – the new goal was to rebuild a total of 20 schools by March 2008. The school construction program was ushered in, and grew to transform the learning environments of tens of thousands of children across Haiti’s 10 departments.
The program intensified after the 2010 earthquake with a commitment to rebuilding an additional 130 schools. After the 150th inauguration held on November 19th, 2014, a new commitment was made to build yet another 25 school construction projects. On March 20th, 2018, the Digicel Foundation inaugurated its 175th school, Ecole Nationale Congréganiste Notre Dame du Perpétuel Secours, founded in 1922 by the Congregation of Filles de Marie Paridaens and located in the Port-au-Prince neighborhood of Bel Air.
Since, the Digicel Foundation has continued with its construction program and to date has built 179 schools which provide a conducive learning environment to more than 60,000 children. Soon an additional three new construction projects will be inaugurated, bringing the total to 182 across the country.