Since the school began in 2006, we have rented 5 different facilities. The last building had lots of yard space and even a playground. We were sad to have to leave on Jan. 24, 2015 because the owner said he was selling it. We have been searched diligently for the next location, and the best option was actually not for rent but for sale. It was used as a carpentry shop. It has a large block building with ample space. Another plus is its tall cinder block wall surrounding the facilities, and large outdoor area as well. While $140,000 US (about $10,000 factored for rennovations) is a lot of money, as we have searched around the area, for what it is, it looks like a good price.
We worked out a deal with the landlord. We gave him a $6,500 deposit in January 2015. He allowed us to move in. The deal is, if we do not pay all by April 24th, 2016, the owner will charge us 2% interest on the remaining balance EACH MONTH! We will also lose our $6,500 deposit that we paid to initially enter the building. If we fail to pay the monthly interest, we could be at risk of losing the space altogether. We currently have over 150 students and teach pre-school to 6th grade from 8am to 1pm each day. We have a bilingual curriculum in Haitian Creole and Spanish specifically designed for the population we serve. We have an experienced director who has worked with the Ministry of Education here for decades. We currently use the code of another school to register our students in the Dominican system, and are working toward getting our own.
You may have seen different fundraising links for this cause throughout the year. First we raised $20,000 via Indiegogo. Then we raised almost $9,000 via Generosity.com. Those were mini fundraisers we did working up toward the larger goal. This link sums up everything. These are all the funds we have raised from all sources and the total amount we need. This includes funds that we have paid to the owner already, funds that we have used to turn the large carpentry shop into a school, and funds that we either have in the bank or have been pledged but have not paid to the owner yet.
We are also searching for a loan to help us pay the seller in time so that we do not start to owe monthly interest. A 6% annual interest loan would translate into a 0.5% monthly interest loan, which would be much more doable for us! We are asking for your help with this once again. And we say thank you from the bottom of our hearts on behalf of our growing number of students.
On a final note, not only does the school function as a school with adult classes and English classes in the evenings as well, but as a community gathering place. We were able to help over 100 individuals register in the National Plan of Regularization for Foreigners which took place last year for the first time in the history of the country and granted beneficiaires with residency of varying lengths depending on their specific circumstances. This is truly a big job we have on our hands and we need all the extra hands that are willing to chip in!
Again, thank you.