In September 2011, the WISE Haiti Task Force organized, with the support of the FOKAL Foundation, a seminar at Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on "Rebuilding Education in Haiti: Sharing Success Stories and Global Experiences", that brought together 20 selected innovative Haitian projects in the field of education. One hundred participants gathered for the seminar, with representatives from Haitian government, public and private education sectors, many members of the international community including UNESCO, AUF, the World Bank, the African Capacity Building Foundation and WISE Awards winning projects' representatives Martin Burt (The Self Sufficient School - Paraguay) and Vicky Colbert (Escuela Nueva - Colombia).
Following this gathering, Martin Burt, Founder and CEO of Fundación Paraguaya, invited four young Haitians to study in his school in Paraguay. Last week, Minociene Cherestal, Jeff World Ilmo, James Pierre and Widancia Charles arrived on site where they will remain for three years, in order to complete two high-school technical degrees simultaneously, one in agriculture and the other in tourism. They came accompanied by Isaac Cherestal, Director of the Centre d'Appui à la Production Agricole du Sud (CAPAS), and by their teachers Joel Theodat and Junior Altidort. All will stay in Paraguay for the first few days, to see the school and make sure that the students feel comfortable in their environment.
Since the school covers 100% of its operating budget with income derived from on-campus educational businesses (cheese making, agricultural products, hospitality, etc.), this will cost the school and the foreign students almost nothing. Martin Burt hopes he will be able to invite many more Haitian students in the years to come. The idea is that, when they return to Haiti, some of them will start self-sufficient rural schools there. Commenting about his invitation, Martin Burt said: "I am an optimist and I am sure we will be able to sort out all the language and culture barriers and that we will learn a lot from this fascinating experience."