Earlier this summer I was asked to join Bridges to Prosperity in Haiti to document a new project they were working on near the village of Pignon. B2P works with isolated communities across the globe to create access to essential healthcare, education, and economic opportunities through building footbridges over impassable rivers and valleys.
Take a look at your own city. How many bridges do you cross daily or on a regular basis? Oftentimes, we take bridges for granted, but everyday they connect us to services, places, and people. Bridges are a fundamental element to successful infrastructure.
Almost 70 million children across the world are prevented from going to school each day. Of the 10 million people who live in Haiti, more than 3 million are children, and many of those children are prevented from receiving an education simply because they do not have a safe path to school. Safe access through infrastructure increases school enrollment by 12%, and means that many more children are able to attain a basic education.
The La Belle Mere Bridge successfully connects the surrounding villages outside of Pignon on the other side of the Bouhaya River, which in the rainy season can swell and forces many students and farmers to stay home instead of risking the dangerous current, preventing farmers from selling crops and children accessing education.
Today, the La Belle Mere Bridge provides safe passage for 12,000 people, with more than 500 people crossing each day.