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Fundraiser launched for Haitian vocational school established in memory of N.B. police officer

Click to play video: 'Haiti school named after late N.B. police officer seeks donations'
Haiti school named after late N.B. police officer seeks donations
A trade school in Haiti established in memory of a well-known Atlantic Canadian police officer is seeking donations to keep operating. RCMP Sgt. Mark Gallagher died in the 2010 earthquake that hit the island nation. The school that bears his name now needs more money to ensure its future. Suzanne Lapointe reports – Jan 6, 2023

A vocational school in Haiti established in memory of New Brunswick police officer Mark Gallagher is seeking donations to continue operating.

Gallagher died in the 2010 earthquake that hit the island nation.

In 2014, the school was built in his name via a partnership between the Friends of Mark Gallagher organization and Quebec-based organization AQANU.

“In Haiti, around 90 per cent of schools are private schools. There are only around 10, 12 per cent that are public schools and they’re underfunded. And the professional school sector is not funded at all by the state,” said AQANU project committee chair Reginald Sorel.

The school was funded through donations and a grant from the Canadian government.

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“I do believe that people responded to Mark’s memory as much as they did to the tragedy in Haiti,” Friends of Mark Gallagher president Richard Blaquière said in an interview on Friday.

Hundreds of Haitians have graduated in the years since, at reduced or free tuition.

Click to play video: 'Living conditions in Haiti deteriorate amid economic crisis, rampant crime'
Living conditions in Haiti deteriorate amid economic crisis, rampant crime

Blaquière said his organization needs to fundraise to continue offering tuition at a reduced cost, as well as to pay for supplies.

“A trade school, you have to buy equipment … you have a carpentry course you need wood, you need saws, you need instructors. You need a lot, so take that and multiply it by four or five times over how many courses you have and it can be pretty expensive,” he said.

He said the organization needs at least $5,000 in annual donations to continue operating.

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The campaign will be launched on Jan. 12, on the anniversary of the 2010 earthquake.

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“We’re gonna do this every year around this time to have the campaign. The Gallagher School 100 campaign. And people would be invited to donate $100, tax deductible,” he said.

He said those interested in donating can contact him directly via email at richard.blaquiere@icloud.com.

AQANU will be in charge of administering the donated money.

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