Harriton, Lower Merion buildOn set sights on Haiti in wake of Hurricane Matthew

LMSD In The News

Posted: March 2, 2017


Last year, the Lower Merion and Harriton buildOn Trek Teams raised more than $150,000 to construct a pair of schools in rural, impoverished villages in the developing world. While the Aces’ life-changing service trip brought them to the village of Samuel Lukwa in Malawi, Africa, the Rams made their inaugural Trek to Astruc, Haiti.

Both the Lower Merion and Harriton buildOn Trek Programs have formed a special bond with the people of Haiti over the years, having lived and worked with host families and community members in an effort to combat the ongoing global education crisis. Just six months after Harriton returned from their trip, Haiti - still reeling from the devastating earthquake in 2010 - was hit by another major natural disaster in Hurricane Matthew, which destroyed nearly 200,000 homes, decimated crops, and left 1.4 million people in need of humanitarian aid.

With their homes in ruins, many families in Astruc and Les Cayes (one of the villages previously visited by LMHS) were able to take shelter and live in the buildOn schools while their houses were being repaired. After hearing about the devastation of Hurricane Matthew in the community they had grown so close to, Harriton buildOn organized a school-wide collection to help provide much needed relief funds for their friends in Astruc. Below is a transcript of the thank you letter sent by Getro Deliscas, Harriton’s buildOn contact in the village.

Hi Everyone of Harriton High School,

My country Haiti has been going through hardship after hardship, back to recently, the Hurricane Matthew destroyed our city, hundreds of thousands of folks have been in immediate need, however the situation remains the same.

Thanks to your support, some people could eat, drink and find good water. Our government has been helping a little, but most of the needy people were not helped for dozens of reasons, specifically corruption is one of the major reasons.

Your help brings smile to faces here. The money you sent helped up to hundreds of folks here. Part of the money is now to do the gardens so that we can provide food on our own in the coming months. Also I bought notebooks, school supplies, tarps and more.

We are having a vaccination now to prevent us from the Cholera, lot of people are still in immediate needs, need of food, need of stuff to repair their roof. Hoping that the Deity is going to keep on pouring His grace upon you and your family as well.

Big Hugs from Haiti,

Getro Deliscas


In the wake of Hurricane Matthew, the Harriton and Lower Merion buildOn clubs became even more cognizant of the impact and importance of their work in the country, which is why both high schools made the decision to travel together to Haiti in April to build a pair of new schools in deserving villages as part of Trek to Haiti 2017.

The UN’s Human Development Index ranks Haiti as the poorest country in the western hemisphere with roughly 77% of the population living below the poverty line of US $1.25 a day. According to a UNICEF study, almost half of all primary school-age children in Haiti do not attend school, and Haitian public schools have the capacity to serve only 25% of the school-age population.

During their time in Haiti, the teams will be fully immersed in Haitian culture as they live with host families, spend four hours each day on the worksite alongside community members building the school, and participate in cultural workshops.


In order to make this trip a reality, the Harriton and Lower Merion buildOn teams have been working tirelessly since October to raise the necessary funds to cover both the cost of constructing a school and travel fare to the country. The buildOn teams could really use the support of the LMSD community! If you are interested in making a tax-deductible donation to help bring the gift of education to children who need it most, you can make a donation to the Harriton or Lower Merion Trek Team through their safe and secure Raiserve websites, at the following respective links.

Lower Merion buildOn Raiserve Site

Harriton buildOn Raiserve Site

Congratulations and best of luck to all of this year’s Trekkies!

Harriton High School: Homa Mirzai, Rachel Brown, Graham Branscom, Hannah Austwick, Grace Weaver, Jasmine McGranaghan, Madeline Taylor, Sam Eaddy, Yasmeen Majid, Barbara Peck, Aidan Fleming, Sophie Brown, Duncan Miller, Angela Sjoblom, Alexandra Branscom, Gina Golden, Dan Imaizumi, Jamie Nemec and Todd Curyto

Lower Merion High School: Samantha Anderer, Josie Blumencwejg, Maddie Canter, Samantha Gaier, Anna Goodman, Luke Howey, Sophie Kamplain, Mollie Katzen, Kathryn Lockwood, Jenna Mancuso, Lilly McClendon, Sean O’Kelley, Liz Paul, Catherine Reed, Kelsey Stanton, Gabby Van Hollander, Sara Chiappardi, Leah Owen-Oliner, Dan Capkin, Leslie Bullitt and Tom Reed