SOURCE: Digicel

March 06, 2007 08:10 ET

Digicel Group Ltd Launches the Digicel Haiti Foundation

With Firm Focus on Education, the Digicel Haiti Foundation Commits to Rebuilding of 20 Primary Schools Across Haiti

PORT AU PRINCE, HAITI -- (MARKET WIRE) -- March 6, 2007 -- Ten months since its launch in Haiti, Digicel Group Ltd, today announced the establishment of the Digicel Haiti Foundation, a new non-profit organization solely dedicated to helping build strong, sustainable communities and fostering economic growth across Haiti.

With a firm focus on Education, the Digicel Haiti Foundation has made an initial commitment of rebuilding 20 primary schools, two in each district of Haiti, and was inaugurated today with a special ceremony to mark the completion of the Foundation's first project -- the rebuilding in record time of the Ecole Mixte Lageho, a primary school in the Hurricane ravaged Pont Janvier rural community of Thomazeau through the combined effort of Digicel staff and community members.

Denis O'Brien, Digicel Group Founder and Chairman and Digicel Haiti Foundation Patron, was joined at the ceremony by Prime Minister of Haiti, Mr. Jacques Edouard Alexis and Mr. Gebriel Bien-Amie, Haiti's Minister of Education, to officially open the newly built and fully furnished primary school.

Welcoming the launch of the Digicel Foundation Minister Gebriel Bien-Amier added, "Since just ten months from Digicel's launch here in Haiti, this dynamic company has put in motion a veritable telecommunications revolution and set new standards across every aspect of their business. We are confident that given their track record here in Haiti and across the Caribbean that the company is now raising the bar in social investment that will challenge other organizations to follow suit."

Built in partnership with Food for the Poor (Haiti), the new Ecole Mixte Lageho has six separate classrooms allowing for the number of students attending the school to expand from 40 to 240 and the number of teachers from three to seven. Additionally, the Digicel Haiti Foundation is providing the young children with breakfast and lunch on each day of class.

"As a core value, Digicel believes that as we grow our communities should grow with us," said Digicel Chairman Mr. Denis O'Brien. "Today is the first step in what promises to be a long and rewarding journey. Digicel Haiti Foundation is determined to make a difference and play a positive role in people's lives in Haiti and is a way of saying 'Thank You' for the tremendous warm welcome and support we have received from the people of Haiti. "

"Though the Foundation will be involved in all areas of social development, a keen focus will be on youth Education. The rebuilding of Ecole Mixte Lageho has already gone a long way in lifting community spirit and inspiring new hope for the future of the children who are ultimately the future of Haiti," added Denis O'Brien.

The Executive Board of the Digicel Foundation is almost entirely staffed by Digicel employees. According to Ms. Josefa Gautier, CEO of the Digicel Haiti Foundation, "A decision was made early in the process that the best people to drive the Foundation were Digicel staff members themselves. We wanted communities to not only benefit from the financial support of the Foundation but also from the skills, team work and dedication of our extraordinarily committed staff so that our contribution would be sustainable."

Digicel launched in Haiti in May 2006 and to date has invested more than US$260 million, which represents the largest ever corporate investment made by an international company in Haiti. Digicel Haiti recorded a milestone of one million customers in December 2006 and directly employs 650 staff members.

ABOUT DIGICEL

Since its launch in 2001, Digicel has become the fastest growing wireless telecommunications operator in the Caribbean. After five years, Digicel is renowned for competitive rates, unbeatable coverage, superior customer care, a wide variety of products and services, and state-of-the-art handsets. It is the largest GSM operator in the region.

By offering innovative wireless services and community support, Digicel has become a leading brand in the Caribbean and has placed the region at the cutting edge of wireless communications.

Digicel is incorporated in Bermuda and has operations in twenty two markets including Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, Aruba, Barbados, Bermuda, Bonaire, Curaçao, The Cayman Islands, Dominica, El Salvador, French Guiana, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Martinique, St Kitts & Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, Trinidad & Tobago and Turks & Caicos. Digicel also has a license in Guatemala and coverage in St. Martin and St. Barths.

The company is the lead sponsor of Caribbean sports teams including the West Indies Cricket Team, Special Olympics teams across the Caribbean and is title sponsor of the Digicel Caribbean Football Union Cup, which involves over 30 Caribbean countries and is an important qualifier towards the CONCACAF Gold Cup. Visit www.digicelgroup.com for more information on Digicel.

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