About Us

Our Staff and Board

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Our Medical Clinic and Brace Shop

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A Message from Haiti's Secretary of State for the Integration of Persons with Disabilities

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St. Vincent's Center

Our new home at Santo 17.

Frequently Asked Questions

Historically, how many children has St. Vincent's Center served?

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.

What are the St. Vincent's students' disabilities?

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! 

What happens to the students when they leave St. Vincent's?

 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. 

How distinctive is St. Vincent's in Haiti? Are there other schools that serve this population?

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. 

Who provides governance oversight?

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. 

How does St. Vincent's receive funding? From what sources?

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. 

Of each dollar contributed, how much goes directly to St. Vincent's?

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.  

Ways in which you can help, beyond money?

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 aurelie@stvincentshaiti.org to help design a trip which is productive for both you and our students. 

Facts About Haiti

Did you know that: 

  • Haiti has a population of 11,000,000, a life expectancy of 64 years, a literacy rate of 60% and two doctors and 1.8 nurses for every 10,000 people?
  • Dessalines, one of the early fighters for Haitian independence, fought alongside LaFayette in our own American Revolution?
  • the reason Thomas Jefferson made the Louisiana Purchase was that Napoleon was selling off territory to raise money to try to recover Haiti after the Haitian revolution threw out the French in 1804?
  • the United States, as well as Britain and France, refused to recognize Haiti as an independent nation, and forced a trade embargo against the new country? 
  • because of segregation in the United States, a group of African-Americans came to Haiti and established the Episcopal Church?
  • Haiti finally got relief from the embargo and recognition as an independent country by agreeing to pay France 150 million gold francs in compensation for the "stolen property" taken from the French landowners who were thrown out by their own slaves? It took Haiti from 1804 to 1947 to pay off that debt.
  • Haiti was forced to borrow some of the money from the United States to pay off that debt?
  • in 1914 President Wilson sent the Marines to empty the Haitian gold reserve?  And that the Marines stayed as an occupying force for 19 years? 
  • the now famous rice tariff imposed by the US forced Haitian rice farmers out of business?

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.