The school of Jean Claire: called Notre Dame de Lourdes, is part of the Parish of St. Therese de l’Enfant Jesus, in Gaspard.
At an altitude of 600 meters, some 14 km or 6 hours from the nearest town, St. Louis du Nord. The ages range between 5 years old and 16 years old, grades 1st through 8th. Only 15% of children in Haiti have access to high school education, and the closest high school is in St. Louis du Nord many hours away. Education is a source of pride and joy for the families. Children come from as far away as 2 hours on foot through the difficult mountain paths to attend school every day. The uniform is worn with great care and pride, and great respect is given to teachers. Parents contribute what they can for tuition, but it is not sufficient to supply the teachers with the minimal salary of $40 US per month.
The church building was built in 1956 and has since been through several major storms. Gaspard was declared a new parish in 1993 due to the growth of the population in that area, even though it is very remote and only accessible on foot. The road to St. Louis du Nord, the nearest town, is unpaved and very rocky. Some parts are not accessible even with all terrain vehicles, and a donkey or motorcycle is preferable.
The population is estimated at some 35,000 people, and it is estimated that 75% of the population cannot read or write. The people suffer numerous health crises especially cholera in recent years. Diseases such as chicken pox and measles can be life threatening for children due to the high rate of malnutrition. There are two public clinics; and doctors are scarce in the region, with the closest located in St. Louis du Nord or Bonneau,. Because of the difficult roads, many people die en route.