PILH Timeline

Below is the historical timeline of the work of Partners in Literacy Haiti (PILH) between 2009 and 2019

Historical Timeline Under Rotary 7750

Over 11 years developing literacy and libraries for children in underserved areas of Haiti in partnership with international and Haitian organizations.

2009: District 7750 Rotarians from Upstate South Carolina visited Central Plateau schools underserved with books. Père Fritz Lafontant, Cange village patriarch, granted permission to create a community library.  Jackie Williams, a Cange resident, accepted and served throughout this project as the resident, in-village library mentor.

2010: A major earthquake damaged Port-au-Prince. Library plans halted when Cange-designated space became hospital supply depot. In South Carolina, Rotarians from several different clubs met and submitted a library committee plan to the District 7750 Leadership Team.

2011: .Partners in Literacy Haiti (PILH) began and has operated as a committee of 7-10 members with Dr. Sara Mansbach, chair, and Rita Yarbrough, treasurer. PILH has sent all donations to Rotary 7750 Charities, Inc. , which was previously incorporated as a 501(c)3 organization to accept donated funds for the district.

2012: The first librarian was trained by Foundation of Knowledge and Liberty (FOKAL). Added glass window blocks, air conditioning, lighting, first furniture to library space and purchased French and Kreyòl books to support K-12 students. Twenty-one pre-K teachers, trained on sharing picture books, received Kreyòl scripts with 32 culturally appropriate picture books.

2013: PILH mentored the new Cange Library Task Force leaders. Clemson University donated 9 desktop computers. Six District 7750 Clubs gave $24,000 funding.

2014: PILH trained twenty-one pre-K teachers in brain development and teaching the alphabet, and provided each with classroom-sized alphabet charts and 300 individual child-sized charts. PILH distributed 500 alphabet board books. Began computerized use of the Dewey Decimal system.

2015: New librarian Maradona Pierre hired, motivated college graduate with leadership skills. Held first special library event on Martin Luther King and leadership. Later, multiple events and community movies followed. A South Carolina videographer documented library.

2016: Library patronage expanded beyond capacity. Cange Library Task Force leaders held conversations with architects. Père Garcia Kesner, recently appointed village priest was requested, then refused to sign an MOU with PILH. to co-run the library.  In October, Mansbach met Kesner with Haitian collaborators without resolution. In December, Maradona resigned.

2017: Kesner claimed library space as Cange diocese property, insisting on complete management control. In April, PILH informed Cange leaders of ending involvement and funding support. In October, Mansbach and Yarbrough visited Summits Education to explore further partnership with director, Marie Flore Chipps.

2018: PILH collaborated with Summits Education, hosting its Director at 7750 Rotary Clubs. Co-presented at Haiti Symposium. Distributed Peter Manuel’s (Encounter Bay Rotary, AU) 750 free books. Shipped 100 boxes of books, games, supplies. Celebrated Calusa and Domond libraries’ opening. Donated $7000 to Summits from various collaborators.

2019: In April, a work team visited possible library sites and decided on La Chapelle Library, Artibonite Department. In October, second Australian-PILH book project with Manuel. In December, established new collaboration with Mortenson Center for International Libraries to advocate for Haiti libraries.