Aylmer teacher in 28th year of student projects in Dominican Republic
École des Tournesols teacher Marc Thibault returned with 28 students from the 2017 working trip to Cazuela, Dominican Republic, July 16. This year, the goal of the student work crew was to build a potable water system for the mountainous community. The village has been without running water for over 30 years and dependant on well water that was hand-carried to homes. While the students on the work trip were high school students in secondary 2 and 3, nine of them were formerly at École des Tournesols. Mr Thibault taught in Chelsea and Ferrelton prior to taking the position in Aylmer, so students came from each of these regions.
Marc Thibault founded an organization called Défi-Jeunesse-Outaouais in 1994. It is under the umbrella of this group that he organizes the working trips every two years. “It takes a year and a half to prepare for each trip,” Mr Thibault told the Bulletin. “The youngsters worked from 8 am to 4 pm every day with shovels, working hard.” They ended the days sharing their experiences and connecting with each other and the locals with songs and good meals. “These young people learn team work and gain experience in setting and meeting goals,” he explained. Bringing cash is also important to a successful project. “This year we raised $12,000 US to bring with us,” said Mr Thibault. “We needed to purchase solar water pumps, piping, tools, etc, plus we pay for engineering and other professional fees.” The group depends on local expertise and decision-making. “ADESJO is the local organization that we work with. They are on the ground and understand local needs.”
In January, a new group of students will embark on the planning stage for a 2019 trip. For more information, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.