La Vallee de Jacmel is a mountainous rural area 56 miles southeast of Port-au-Prince, Haiti. It consists of a collection of 13 tiny village communities and is home to approximately 5000 families and more than 12,000 school-aged children. There are a few small stores, a medical clinic, several churches, and 51 schools dotted across the mountainsides.
While jobs are scarce, most families earn a meager living by farming and raising farm animals. They sell their crops at the weekly Friday market in Ridore, located at the top of the mountain. A typical family survives on less than $500 per year. There are no public schools, and private school tuition is $150 per child per year. As a result more than one thousand children in the region are unable to attend school because their families cannot afford it.
Donkey parking lot on market day in Ridore
The earthquake in 2010 severely affected the area. The population increased by 30 percent as refugees from Port-au-Prince, including children whose schools there had been destroyed, moved to the rural community to escape the chaos. According to a survey conducted by community leaders, 2745 homes in La Vallee were damaged, as well as all area schools.
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