The Anis Zunuzi School is a primary and secondary school in the outskirts of Port-au-Prince, Haiti now serving about 350 students. Built on land donated by a Belgian family, the school aims to provide quality education for the lower-income children of Port-au-Prince. The curriculum follows the national program, enriching it with various courses designed to develop the potential of the students to be independent, active agents in their own destiny.
The Anis Zunuzi is also responsible for two satellite schools. George Marcellus in Guerot that serves 200 students, and Zunuzi Annex for Street Children that serves 20 children who have nowhere else to go.
Since the January 2010 earthquake that struck Haiti, the importance of empowering youth and children with education is greater than ever. Much infrastructure must be rebuilt from the ground up. The Anis Zunuzi, one of the few schools unharmed during the earthquake, has been contributing to this effort by housing medical offices during the times of crisis, and now by expanding its educational efforts to reach displaced students.
IEMEA is partnering with the Mona Foundation to build a multi-purpose dining hall which will enable the school to expand from 220 students up to 500 students. IEMEA raised $80,000 of the $160,000 cost of this project.
The Anis Zunuzi School was founded on land a Belgian family contributed for the betterment of Haiti. The mission that has driven the schools development is to provide the best education possible to low income children of the area. Opening its doors in 1980 as a school teaching kindergarten and elementary classes, it has grown K-12 school in addition to extra-curricular English classes for adults and a summer school program.
At the time of opening the students paid the equivalent of $2 US. The area was definitely rural with no public transportation, electricity, nor telephones. With the completion of the school, electricity came to the area. Many years later, almost one decade after the opening, the telephone was installed.
The area has changed considerably as the slums of Port-au-Prince expanded to the area around the school. As poverty enveloped the school, violent crime in the area increased as well. This cycle requires more than education; empowerment and fulfillment of the potential young people have to change their environment forms a core of the goals of the school.
Today the Zunuzi School has become an oasis of hope for a way out of poverty. The most pronounced character of the school is beauty. The school grounds are filled with trees, flowers, and clean white buildings with courtyards. Students are recognized for their good character and are trained how to analyze, reflect and solve problems. They're also taught to express themselves clearly in their native Creole and in French, to listen to others' ideas with respect, to work cooperatively and to be aware of world events. Art and music is incorporated at every level. The beautiful grounds are used for sports and other events, and offered for use to other schools that have no place for students to run and play.
On January 12, 2010, a catastrophic magnitude earthquake hit Haiti, with an epicenter 16 miles from Port-au-Prince. The systemic instability facing Haitians in their daily life—including poor power infrastructure, lack of security and food scarcity—became magnified in the wake of the destruction wreaked by this natural disaster. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) reported that half the nation’s 15,000 primary and 1,500 secondary schools were either destroyed or badly damaged and three universities in Port-au-Prince and the Ministry of Education building were left in ruins.
The school has been utilizing its support from the Mona Foundation to increase its capacity to educate as many displaced students as possible following the devastating earthquake. Mona Foundation also committed to pay the entire tuition of the approximately 300 students enrolled at Zunuzi for the 2010 school year due to the dire economic situation with almost all of the parents. Since there was no school in Haiti for the first couple of months after the earthquake, Zunuzi functioned primarily as a shelter and a makeshift clinic for the injured and homeless.