Brunel Zamor is the founder and principal of the English in Mind Institute. He started teaching English for free in Port au Prince independently of IDV in April 2010.
Brunel moved from the countryside to Port au Prince with his four siblings in 1998. He first started thinking about starting English classes when he met his good friend and fellow teacher, Omega, in church. They had both learned English through a combination of school and self-study, and they both wanted to work on their language skills.
They started to get together to study, but before long, they realised that there were many others who wanted to learn but couldn't afford an English school. So, they recruited several other English speaking friends and turned their study groups into free English classes.
Brunel and his teachers struggled at first. They were forced to hold class on the roof of a damaged building and then they later moved to a church. Their classes had no books, no school supplies, and when the church had to ask them to leave, not even a classroom.
IDV met Brunel in the summer of 2010, and Brunel immediately began asking IDV to send international volunteers to help at the classes. We worked with Brunel on a limited basis in 2010 while we researched the need for English, and assessed whether or not it was a programme we could pursue. In late 2010, it became clear there was an overwhelming demand for English education. Rather than set up a separate school, we decided to work with Brunel and his classes to create a long-term English language programme.
Throughout 2011, IDV volunteers worked with Brunel and his teachers to develop the teachers' abilities, find the school a secure home, put a curriculum in place, and turn his collection of classes into a proper school. Thanks to the hard work of our volunteers, Brunel's collection of classes became the English in Mind Institute.
While we provided training, funding, and materials, the success of the school is, in large part, down to Brunel's persistence and the hard work of the teachers. Since IDV left, Brunel has been EIM's principle. He is responsible for ensuring that students are placed in the correct classes and teachers have the resources and support they need.
Taking over the school when IDV left in December 2011 was a big responsibility, and Brunel felt the stress. “I was worried that after IDV left we would lose students because there were no more international teachers. But, that hasn't happened because the students know the school has lots of international support, and it's still free!”
Today, Brunel loves his role, and loves being involved with the school. “The students think of EIM as a family more than a school. They all help each other. The students tell me all the time that they didn't think they could speak English. Now, if they have an international boss, they can speak directly to them, as an equal. This helps them find work, and feel more confident”.
You can support Brunel and all the students by giving today.