Celtic Park Haiti flourishes

ON Friday, September 11, 2015, CRS, Celtic FC Foundation and 1,500 local residents celebrated the welcome opening of ‘Celtic Park Haiti’ in the country’s capital, Port au Prince.

After the devastation of the 2010 earthquake disaster, much of the land was covered by debris and rubble and residents were forced to occupy tents in the park, displaced by the tragedy which unfolded and destroyed many homes.

In the months after the earthquake, work started on clearing drainage canals backed up with debris and garbage from other parts of the city. Homes were rebuilt and families’ livelihoods were slowly re-established.

With the hard work and dedication of CRS and the Solino community, and with support from Celtic FC Foundation, a previously uninhabitable area now houses a community recreational park – ‘Celtic Park Haiti’.

The park in Solino, one of Port-au-Prince’s notoriously poor areas, is fully equipped with a near regulation-size artificial turfed football field, basketball and handball courts, a stage for community events, seating, lighting and new Celtic Park signage. 

It has been almost six months since the facility opened and so far, as well as a special exhibition match with the First Division Haiti national football team, we are absolutely delighted to report that the following community activities are well under way:

– Regular after-school and weekend football training for children eight to 12-years-old and 14 to 18-years-old

– Weekly sports training (Haiti State University football team)

– Regular football tournaments against other local teams

– Social and community activity: dance with DJ

– After-school homework activities with primary school children

Lisa Railey, Senior Regional Development Director of Catholic Relief Services said: “Celtic Park Haiti is such a wonderful addition to the Solino neighbourhood. 

“The Solino community has overcome such incredible odds after the earthquake that struck in 2010 and Celtic Park Haiti is the perfect reward for such hard work to repair and rebuild this community. Both children and adults use this field and it was a true community effort to get it off the ground to ensure its success. 

“On a personal note, I was blessed to be a part of this incredible project. On behalf of CRS, I would like to thank our anonymous donor for envisioning this project, and Celtic FC Foundation for supporting this incredible community project. This is an accomplishment that everyone involved should be proud of and enjoy.”

Tony Hamilton, Chief Executive of Celtic FC Foundation, said: “Celtic FC Foundation is delighted with the progress of Celtic Park Haiti.

“After the devastation of the 2010 earthquake, the community, with the support of Celtic FC Foundation, have pulled together to create a safe environment where children and adults alike can use the Park for a variety of sports and educational activities.

“We look forward to watching Celtic Park Haiti develop over the coming years and are extremely proud to be part of this project.”