Lawrence University seniors Oliver and Rebecca Zornow, who founded a school in Haiti, will discuss how education and poverty eradication can lessen the impact of natural disasters in the third installment of Lawrence’s 2009-10 Social Justice Lecture Series.

The Zornows present “Natural Disaster, Poverty and Rebuilding Haiti Through Education” Thursday, Feb. 18 at 6:30 p.m. in the Warch Campus Center cinema. The event is free and open to the public.

After visiting Caneille, Haiti in February 2006 as a senior at Appleton’s Valley New School, a charter school that emphasizes project-based learning, Oliver Zornow was inspired to start a school for the children he met there. Through arts and crafts sales, car washes, rummage sales, recycling cell phones and numerous other fundraisers, he was able to raise more than $5,000 for the Caneille Regional Development Fund (CDRF). In September 2006,Zornow was able to open the School of Grace of Caneille with 130 students. Since then, the school has added a grade each year and currently covers grades 1-6. For the past two years, the school has provided a daily meal program for students as well.

Since embarking on the project, the Zornows have raised approximately $25,000 to keep the school operating. They visit the school at least once a year to visit with teachers and students and lead groups on visits. The recent earthquake in Haiti, however, has temporarily closed the School of Grace of Caneille.

The Social Justice Lecture Series is sponsored by the Lawrence University Volunteer and Community Center and supports campus speakers who discuss contemporary social justice issues.