Haiti Official Gives Personal Thank You to Tampa Bay

Ralph Latortue
Ralph Latortue said he has been overwhelmed by the generosity, but more is still needed.
TAMPA (2010-3-12) -

Haiti’s Consul General came to Tampa Thursday and Friday to personally thank students, parents and organizations for donating school supplies.

On Friday morning, Ralph Latortue went to St. John’s Episcopal Day School, and Thursday night he visited a warehouse run by the Hillsborough Education Foundation.

Inside a warehouse filled with "teaching tools" for Hillsborough's low income students, Latortue stood before towering industrial shelves filled with crayons, pens, paper and notebooks, packaged and ready to ship to Haitian school children. They are excess supplies that Hillsborough could spare.

Latortue says although shelter is a top priority with more than 200,000 Haitians without so much as a tent, school supplies are very important.

“Our children are the most effected right now. We had over 500 schools that have been destroyed in Port-au-Prince itself, and we have an evaluation of about a half of million children in need to go to school that cannot go to school,” Latortue said.

He also says there’s a shortage of teachers – although Miami’s school district is helping with that.

“They have shipped a container of computers where they have installed that Skype where they'll be able to interact with distance with Creole speaking teachers,” he said.

In addition, Latortue says 75% of Haiti’s universities are collapsed – “pancaked to the floor” – killing about 800 students and 100 faculty.

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