Haitian School Initiative: Press Release
LOS ANGELES—Ben Stiller announced today the launch of the Haitian School Initiative, an effort to help provide temporary schools for Haitians displaced by the earthquake on January 12, 2010.
“Our goal is to help kids get back in school as quickly as possible,” said Stiller. “Schools are a safe haven for kids in times of crisis, and are instrumental in delivering not only education but also healthcare, nutrition and other critical services.”
The Haitian government has announced plans to resettle approximately 400,000 earthquake survivors from Port-au-Prince to temporary camps outside the city. It is unclear at this time how long people will live in those camps, or where they will be relocated following their move to the temporary camps. For that reason the Haitian School Initiative will focus on quickly building temporary schools as soon as it is clear where large numbers of people will settle.
The organization Architecture for Humanity (AFH)http://www.architectureforhumanity.org/ will oversee the construction of these schools. Already working in Haiti prior to the earthquake, Architecture for Humanity has deep experience in quickly building low-cost, high-quality schools following natural disasters. Temporary schools in Haiti will likely range in price from $45,000-$75,000.
Today, Priceline announced a generous grant of $50,000 to the Haitian School Initiative, funding that will allow the planning and construction of the first school to begin. The Haitian School Initiative will unveil a “menu” of ways that people can get involved in the weeks to come.
“It could take more than 5 years to repair and rebuild Haiti’s educational infrastructure,“ said Cameron Sinclair, co-founder of Architecture for Humanity. “While this seems long to us, to a young child it is half their life. Transitional schools are the most cost effective way to give them access to be educated in the years while their country rebuilds.”
Stiller visited Haiti in the summer of 2009 and committed to building a school, providing clean water, and improved agriculture in Cévérine. Following the visit he launched Stillerstrong www.stillerstrong.org, a fun campaign, in partnership with Causecast and the Global Philanthropy Group, the motto of “stealing great ideas from other people’s charities to build a school in Haiti,” to raise money for the project and enlist the support of others. He produced a series of viral videos involving President Clinton, Lance Armstrong, Robert DeNiro, Owen Wilson, Ryan Seacrest and others who rallied around this important cause. This campaign has raised more than $300,000 including a generous contribution of $100,000 from Bulgari. This represents a significant amount of funds needed for the school. Stiller partnered with Save the Children on the Cévérine School project.
“The Haitian School Initiative will raise money to do one thing and do it well; build temporary schools in Haiti,” said Stiller. “The more money we raise the more schools we can build. I am hoping anyone who is looking for a way to help Haiti emerge from this crisis will join us in this effort.” Stiller is also a participant in tonight’s historic live event “HOPE FOR HAITI NOW: A GLOBAL BENEFIT FOR EARTHQUAKE RELIEF” which is expected to be available in more than 640 million homes worldwide.