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MONTREAL, DECEMBER 7, 2010 – An English Montreal School Board (EMSB) teacher is spearheading  a campaign  to have his colleagues and  schools  forge a partnership with their peers living and studying in Haiti.

Travis Ross, a teacher at St. Monica Elementary School in N.D.G and a member of the Montreal-Haiti Solidarity Committee (MHSC) is promoting an initiative in which students engage in a pen pal program with their peers at the SOPUDEP (Société de providence unie pour le développement de Pétionville) School in Port-au-Prince. He is now looking to work with the EMSB’s Spiritual and Community Animators, who have shown a lot of initiative on this dossier.

Founded in 2002 by Rea Dol, SOPUDEP is an institution which provides comprehensive private schooling for the poorest members of the community. Rea has made it her primary goal to improve their lives via education and by working with her people in order to create pride and hope. Currently, the school has more than 480 students, many of whom receive their only daily meal courtesy of the school’s hot food program.  “I believe strong connections can be made between SOPUDEP and the EMSB,” said Ross. “A classroom pen pal program where EMSB students practice their French in a real-world scenario would be ideal. It would allow students to explore what it means to go to school in Haiti, a country they have no doubt heard about over the past year.”

Mr. Ross also hopes that schools which sign on to this program will help initiate a new wave of monetary support for Haiti. Following the devastating earthquake last January, the EMSB raised over $100,000 towards relief efforts.  “Small amounts can make a huge difference to children in Haiti,” he emphasizes. “A donation of one or two dollars per student in the EMSB can easily turn into meals for every student, teachers being paid their salaries or help SOPUDEP rebuild structures that collapsed during the earthquake.”

In order to jump start this program and any potential fundraising efforts, Rea Dol, an internationally recognized community organizer and human rights activist, will be in Montreal from January 20 to  25 2011 and will be available to visit various schools.   For more information on SOUPDEP, please visit:  To view a documentary about Rea Dol, please  go to


Michael J. Cohen
Communications and Marketing Specialist
English Montreal School Board
Tel: (514) 483-7200 ext. 7243
Fax: (514) 483-7213