Our new home at Santo 17.
Because we lost our archives in the 2010 earthquake, there is no accurate answer to this question. However, we have served approximately 200 children annually for many of the decades since our founding in 1945. While there is some turn-over in our student population, most remain with us through ninth grade, often having started at age three. Thus, a very conservative estimate would be 7,500.
St. Vincent's students are deaf, blind (or severely visually-impaired), and/or physically challenged. Because some 10% of Haiti's population suffers from significant loss of hearing, at any given point in time, we will have more students who are deaf than those with other disabilities. Presently, half of our student body is deaf. Some 60 are blind; and 40 are unable to walk and in wheelchairs. None of our students suffer from cognitive impairment; their minds are fully intact!
Unlike American schools, St. Vincent's does not have an Alumni Director on staff, so our information is largely anecdotal. We do know that most of our students continue their studies elsewhere until they receive a diploma. Some go on to university; we know of three who are in college in Miami at present. Many work in governmental agencies, such as the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Inclusion. Some work in and with churches - one is a Sister of the Society of St. Margaret, like our Founder, Sister Joan Margaret. Others return to St. Vincent's to teach. Some have pursued their musical talents - one is a famous accordionist in Haiti. While our information is anecdotal, we are heartened that so many of our students have pursued their education and found employment.
For a long time, St. Vincent's was the only school of its kind in Haiti. We believe that we are still the only one to serve children with these specific and multiple disabilities, but some of our graduates have been inspired to start their own schools - mostly for
the deaf or the blind.
The Board of Trustees for St. Vincent's Center is comprised of eight Haitians and seven North Americans who bring expertise in education, medicine, finance, fundraising and other skill sets pertinent to the successful oversight of this remarkable entity.
St. Vincent's Center is a 501(c)(3), or tax-exempt, institution under a ruling of the Internal Revenue Service of the United States. Our funding comes largely from individuals and churches. We also receive in-kind assistance from the Government of Haiti, which provides daily bus transportation for our students, Food for The Poor, and the Bureau of Nutrition and Development which provides the hot mid-day meal for students and staff. All Trustee travel to Haiti is self-funded.
St. Vincent's Center has no paid staff in the United States. Our dedicated volunteers contribute their expertise, experience, and endless hours. Thus 96% of our revenue directly supports the children, staff, and facility of St. Vincent's. Our expenses cover printing, postage, and mailing.
We tailor the service trips which bring visitors - some with very specific skill sets - such as construction, plumbing, faculty enrichment, and horticulture - to our Santo 17 campus. Please contact Aurelie Fievre, our Executive Administrator, at firstname.lastname@example.org to help design a trip which is productive for both you and our students.
Did you know that:
So, when you ask, Why is Haiti so poor? Consider what our own (US) behavior has done over the past 200 years to contribute to their poverty. And why the Haitians continue to be generous and open armed to their American neighbors and offer us their example of sincerity and hospitality.