Prof. Robert Giles teaches schoolchildren in Les Cayes, Haiti, how to build a simple telescope out of cardboard tubes and lenses as part of the Haiti Development Studies Center’s astronomy education outreach.
With significant prior experience working in Haiti over the past decade, and understanding that sustainable changes needs to come from within, the faculty researchers at the University of Massachusetts Lowell have leased a site in the city of Les Cayes.
Having a permanent residence within the community will enable them (and their students) to continuously perform health and environmental assessments across the Southern Department of Haiti. HDSC employs a full-time staff comprised of an American Program Coordinator, who resides in the facility, and a six-member team of Haitians who are responsible for house-keeping, ground transportation, security and all in-country resource requirements.
The facility director and program coordinator will provide project advisement involving regional and community-based concerns and opportunities. Student interns and their faculty advisers may remain in Haiti over extended periods to gather and document the investigative data.
A service-learning capstone in Lowell and Haiti transformed Maureen Kelly’s civil engineering education — and her life. She now works for a firm that supports her ongoing volunteer work in Haiti and her mentoring of current students.
The port city of Les Cayes is located about 200 miles southwest of the capital city, Port-au-Prince, the capital city, and is locally known as Aux Cayes. It lies on the southern shoreline of Haiti, and is the capital of the Southern Department of Haiti. The University of Massachusetts Lowell’s Haiti Development Studies Center is located at 85 Rue Toussaint Louverture in Les Cayes.