Over the past twelve years Jakmel Ekspresyon has grown because of our community of students. The classes have become popular and our ability to provide unique classes and spaces for local Jacmelians has inspired the students to share the news of JE with their friends. We have always taken the long slow road to make sure what we deliver to the community is relevant and quality. Now we are on the journey to create a permanent home, that allows us to increase our classes and student population!
In 2021, JE made a partnership with another local Haitian organization, Union of Block Raquette for Development or UBRD. UBRD had a sizable piece of land just off the main road in downtown Jacmel, but they didn’t have the funds to realize a community center. Together we have the force to make a better future for so many.
The First of Many
The campus will have 3 buildings in total when we are finished. We are taking it one building at a time. The campus project has inspired many people to contribute and the level of fundraising has out paced every year since our founding. It is still not quite enough for our first building. We had to choose one building to start with. The 1st building is the home of the classrooms, with 4 classrooms total; including arts, trade-skills, fashion, and technology. This building will allow us to start all the classes people love and add a few advanced classes.
We have the money to make this a working building but we are still raising funds to finish it. The building needs a skim coat of concrete for finishing, doors and windows for the first floor and a balcony railing for the second floor. Help us today by making a donation to our supporting US Foundation, Jakmel Community Empowerment Foundation. You can write a check and send it to 1148 North Ave, Batavia, IL 60510 or click the donate link below.
The Future Campus
After the first building is completed we need two more buildings to complete our campus. The second building is essential to our campus, our educational goals and our economic security. It is a larger building containing a performance hall, library and meeting room. Here’s why these resources are crucial to supporting the community.
to a performance center. This room has an occupancy of 90 seats and a stage. It is the platform that will elevate the student’s voice through their art works. This completes the full cycle of creation that happens in the classroom by inviting the community to experience those creations. It will also be used as a source of revenue for Jakmel Eskspresyon by renting the space. Here’s how the community will benefit.
- Theater and Dance classes
- Lectures and Symposiums
- Student Exhibitions
- Art, music and film
- Student Graduation
- Movie night
- Rental space
There are five Universities in the Jacmel area. Many students must pass dangerous areas to go to libraries in Port au Prince that have access to more extensive collections than local libraries. These collections are needed to research and write their thesis papers and fulfill requirements to graduate. Our students and members have identified a library as a need. The library will not only reflect local University students’ needs but also our diverse curriculum. This facility will have a printer and USB drives that allow students to take home their work. Here are the collections we plan to host in our future library.
- Extensive online book collections
- Access to data collections
- Academic research papers
- Access to download open source apps
- Sounds for music production
- Historic and contemporary garments
In recent years our curriculum and student projects have started to create knowledge bases. Our students not only learn from knowledge created by others to creating their own as well. This includes water tests, maps, recording local history and knowledge as well as capturing contemporary life. We are dedicated to empowering students to be active participants in developing learning experiences. Creating these knowledge bases and collections allow students to decide what is important to their community and what should be recorded for future students. Therefor they direct impact on their own community and its resources.
Throughout our twelve years, our students have used our social spaces to collaborate and create their own projects. Lectures, workshops and even businesses have been created because our members and students gather to exchange ideas. As collaborations advanced, more private spaces were requested to conduct meetings or make presentations. Just like the performance center on the first floor, this room completes the cycle of creation and innovation that was inspired by the classes. This is a space where the students actively innovate and create advancement in the community by having professional resources to meet, develop and present their ideas without having to pay rent.
The meeting room will have a conference table with imbedded outlets and cable connections to an audio visual presentation system.
The Final Building
While we work on our first two buildings that focus on the students and community, the staff will have an office in a converted 20 foot shipping container. All the staff are dedicated and don’t mind coming in last, but an office core building is crucial to the staff’s efficiency. The office core building will also house a school store that supports classes by selling harder to find materials and tools. A great example is screen printing emulsion and ink. These materials are only available in Port au Prince. The school store will also allow us to create funds that will support the campus budget and create jobs as we hire our best students to work in the store.
A third room in the Office Core will be a storage room for classroom supplies, tools and more. A large storage room will help us to buy materials in bulk and prevent theft.