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Sep 25, 2013 7:20 PM by akeam ashford

Lafayette Woman Starts School In Haiti


After the devastating earthquake that shook Haiti three years ago, Lafayette resident Megan Boudreaux is working to change the lives of orphaned children near Port-Au-Prince.

Boudreaux moved to Gressier, Haiti two years ago to start Respire Haiti, a not-for-profit school.

"We started the school in a one-room church, and we had 97 kids. I would venture to say 50 percent of the kids in Haiti do not go to school, or don't go to school that really is a school," says Boudreaux.

Boudreaux first visited Haiti on a mission trip. On that visit, she knew she wanted to help the people in the region.

"The first time I visited, which is now where I live, I went up to Bellevue Mountain and I saw a little girl throwing rocks at a bird. She said that she was hungry and she was going to eat the bird," says Boudreaux.

In Haiti, half a million children are restavek, a child slave. At 24 years old, Boudreaux started Respire Haiti, hoping a better education will help lift the children out of poverty.

Around a single tree, Respire Haiti was born. Respire, which means "to breathe," has grown into 14 classrooms with more than 500 students.

This November, the school will open a medical facility.

"Our staff and their families will have medical insurance through our medical clinic. With the clinic we're hoping to do as much education as we are serving the families," says Boudreaux.

Optometrist Dr. Patrick Magee will visit the school next month. He says his goal is to see every student while there.

"Not only are we going to serve the poorest of the poor, but we're helping children better their lives," says Magee.

The school employs more than 150 people.

Boudreaux and her husband have adopted two Haitian girls, and are in the process of adopting two more kids.

If you'd like to get involved, you can visit http://respirehaiti.org/.

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