Global Adolescent Project, G.A.P, was born out of necessity, to fill a void — a gap — in youth services.
Global Adolescent Project was launched in July, 2010, in one of the largest IDP (internally displaced persons) camps in post-earthquake Port au Prince, Haiti. The earthquake took the lives of 200 – 300,000 people, while leaving 1.5 million homeless, most of whom gathered what was left of their belongings and set up camp in any open space available.
While working inside the camps, we were moved by the desire of young people to go to school.
A few tent schools were erected for small children, and adults could apply for cash-for-work programs. But, for those who were not a small child or an adult, the options for a hopeful future were nonexistent.
Education provided hope, for students and parents. But, it is not enough to just provide tuition assistance. The majority of our students come from within the horrid IDP camps. It is impossible to ignore that it is difficult to concentrate with an empty belly and impossible to do homework when the rains turn your tarp dwelling into a cesspool. The obstacles become greater when your nights are sleepless due to fear of violence from bandits and gangs using the camps to do their dirty work. Additionally, many Haitians suffer post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) from the horrors witnessed in the days and weeks following the quake.
In response, our programs have evolved to address all that is needed for a student to do well in school, including nutrition, housing, clothing, mental health and a local support structure of friends and mentors.