Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., one of Haiti's largest foreign investors for almost 30 years, today announced the completion of the L'Ecole Nouvelle Royal Caribbean – one of the first schools to be built in Haiti after the earthquake. The strategically located 6,500 square foot school complex is in northern Haiti near nine towns and villages: Labadie, Cormier, Ducroix, Fort Bourgeois, Marchegalles, Cimetiere-Juif, Champ de Mars, Port Francais and Cap Haitien. The campus consists of six buildings, with 12 classrooms, administrative offices, a computer lab and bathrooms. The school will provide children from the area an education, including classes in English and environmental stewardship. In the evenings adults will attend vocational training.
In delivering the school to the Haitian people as promised, Royal Caribbean worked with South Florida based InnoVida and the St. Coleman's School, as well as Haiti based ProDev, L'Ecole Nouvelle Zoranje and the Solano Foundation.
"What better way to help Haiti than by educating the children?" said Richard D. Fain, chairman and chief executive officer, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. " Haiti's needs are enormous, and although we can only be a small part of the solution, we believe our model school is a good start. We hope that these children will develop into leaders who will guide Haiti's recovery in the future."
The school is on land Royal Caribbean leases from the Haitian government. Royal Caribbean worked with InnoVida and used the company's Fiber Composite Panels to build the entire school complex in only four weeks, using 50 local Haitian workers, in time for the 2010-2011 school year. All construction materials were transported from Miami onboard Royal Caribbean cruise ships. InnoVida's structures can sustain hurricane winds, resist earthquakes due to their high deflection capacity, are waterproof and are a highly energy efficient system.
This first school will be a primary school for grades kindergarten through 5. There will be three kindergarten classes with 36 students, and each grade 1 through 5 will have 25 students, for a minimum of 230 children educated this school year. Royal Caribbean's next Haitian school building project is entering into the planning stages now.
Continuing its tradition of promoting innovation and creativity, Royal Caribbean partnered with the YMCA of Greater Miami and provided children an opportunity to name the school in Haiti. Out of the more than 3,000 submissions received, a seventh grader from the YMCA afterschool program in Miami Lakes proposed the winning name L'Ecole Nouvelle Royal Caribbean.
Beginning just three days after the earthquake, Royal Caribbean transported more than 3,000 pallets of much needed supplies on Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises ships that called on Labadee. Also, to date, Royal Caribbean's monetary contribution to the Haiti relief effort is at least $2.5 million, which includes money raised from the donated Labadee calls, the onboard guest donations, and matching funds. The company's operations at Labadee impact over 500 local Haitians who are either employees or vendors at Labadee commuting from nearby villages. Royal Caribbean also employs over 200 Haitian crew members onboard ships.