CEAL – Centre d’Eveil et Apprentissage di Leogane is a community center, which provides the the only educational space in the commune of Leogane, that is dedicated to children with special needs (deaf, with mental disabilities or with different learning difficulties).
CEAL was founded in 2012 under tents, in the rubble-filled garden of what was the home of Mrs France, the current director of the Center. Today, CEAL is formally recognized by the Haitian state, is managed by Haitians, and provides education to more than 80 special-need children; CEAL also carries out many activities with the community (including literacy, sign language courses for families, educational and recreational activities for young people, etc.).
What real needs does CEAL respond to?
In Haiti, people with physical and mental handicaps are considered a disgrace; handicapped children are locked up by their families, as the families are ashamed; handicapped children are often mistreated at home. Deaf boys and girls are also often subject to violence because they cannot speak. Furthermore, the mostly private schools in Haiti do not welcome children with special needs, and in any case these schools are not equipped to do so and the teachers are
unprepared to support such children. So if on the one hand families are not motivated to bring their disabled or deaf children to school, on the other hand there are no places that can accommodate them while respecting their needs. For this reason, when a group of Haitian volunteers proposed to start a process to “get these children out of the house” and try to integrate them, we decided to support them by helping them to create CEAL.

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