West Tennessee Haiti Partnership

Update on St. VIncent’s from Bill Squire

Dear Friends,

I have recently returned from a visit to St. Vincent’s Center for Handicapped Children and the Diocese of Haiti. Since the earthquake early last year, there has been considerable support for St. Vincent’s, and of course, the Diocese as a whole. This report, as you will see, is an attempt to show what is being done by the various groups committed to helping Father Sadoni care for the children of St. Vincent’s. I have included here those persons known to me to be involved with this effort – obviously there are others, but I have attempted to send this to persons heading organizations aiding St. Vincent’s. It has of course be disseminated to the members of the Board of Directors of CMMH. I have no pride of authorship and encourage you to share this information with others. Also included here is a brief report I submitted to Bishop Duracin on my last trip to Haiti in December of 2010. Again, it is for information, so that all who are reading this will be better informed. May God continue to lead us in our shared ministry.



To: The Rt. Rev. Jean Zache Duracin, Episcopal Bishop of Haiti
From: The Rev. Canon Willard S. Squire, Jr.
Date: December 2, 2010
Subject: My activities regarding St. Vincent’s since the January earthquake

1. I have traveled to Haiti on six different occasions since the earthquake:

(a) January 15 to January 18, 2010 (I was accompanied by the Rev. Joe Diaz, Diocese of Southwest Florida – and we had to travel through the Dominican Republic).

(b) February 19 to February 23, 2010 (Margaret joined me on this trip, and again we had to go through the Dominican Republic).

(c) April 11 to April 14, 2010.

(d) May 31 to June 2, 2010.

(e) September 6 to September 8, 2010.

(f) December 2 to December 5, 2010 (accompanied by Margaret).

2. I have met with or been in communication (by telephone or via email) with the following people and/or institutions:

(a) The Presiding Bishop, the Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Shori and her Haiti Team, the Rev. Rosemary Sullivan and the Rev. Joseph Constants.

(b) ERD representatives to include Abigail Nelson, Katie Mears, and Michael McIntyre, ERD Consultant.

(c) Gary Shaye and Thomas Myhren, Save the Children and representatives in Haiti.

(d) Stephen Rothstein, Perkins School for the Blind, Boston, MA.

(e) Evelyn Margron, ICCO & KERK IN ACTIE, Haiti (I wrote a paper for a grant consideration regarding the Episcopal Diocese of Haiti and St. Vincent’s Center for Handicapped Children being Advocates for Human Rights).

(f) Presbyterian Church, USA.

(1) Bill Simmons, Medical Benevolent Foundation (grant request pending)

(2) Randy Ackley, Disaster Relief

(3) Bob Ellis, Church Headquarters

(4) Pix Mahler, Haiti Coordinator

(g) Project Hope (I wrote a proposed partnership between St. Vincent’s and Project Hope).

(h) Hope Lennartz and Bill Harris, Friends of St. Vincent’s, West Hartford, CT

(i) Association for Aid and Relief, Japan

(j) Marvin Fourreaux, FourreauxProsthetics, Huntsville, AL (they made new prosthetics for JoJo).

(k) Ron Sconyers, Physicians for Peace

(l) Al Ingersall, Healing Hands

(m) Jack Victor (President Emeritus), World Rehabilitation Fund

(n) Erica Waasdorp, Wereld Nood Hulp,Amsterdam, The Netherlands

(o) The Rev. Susan Kent, Durham, England

(p) John McGee, Lunenberg, NS, Canada

(q) Erin Snyder, Catholic Medical Mission Board

(r) Margaret McLaughlin, Washington, D.C. (who has now created a coalition of Episcopal and Presybterian Churchs in our Capital city)

(s) Numerous contacts in churches throughout the United States who were supporting St. Vincent’s in the past or who now support St. Vincent’s.


Trip Report
to St. Vincent’s Center for Handicapped Children
Port-au-Prince, Haiti

February 9-11, 2011
The Rev. Canon Willard S. Squire, Jr.

On this particular trip I tried to focus on “full disclosure,” attempting to discern just what various organizations and groups were doing in support of St. Vincent’s Center for Handicapped Children. I am hopeful that this report will assist in future plans regarding the needs of St. Vincent’s and that groups will not be at cross-purposes. As I do often, I remind everyone reading this report that St. Vincent’s is an institution of the Episcopal Diocese of Haiti and is the responsibility of the Rt. Rev. Jean Zache Duracin. Bishop Duracin has appointed the Rev. Sadoni Leon as the Director of St. Vincent’s (as well as the priest-in-charge of Church of the Epiphany, Port-au-Prince). Father Sadoni is the person Bishop Duracin looks to for the care of the children of the institution. Those of us in the United States who have committed ourselves to help Father Sadoni in his ministry are challenged to insure that what we do is in accordance with the needs of the institution as determined by him. Please be aware that the following is not all inclusive. I am sure that some groups are involved in ways I have not indicated here. What follows is the result of discussions between me, Father Sadoni, and Bishop Duracin (with input from persons from most of the various groups mentioned). So, please do not be offended if I omitted a part of your ministry; I just thought it important to at least get some of this information in “one place,” so that we can find ways to cooperate and together help Father Sadoni in insuring the well being of the children we all love.

Organizations/Groups Currently Supporting St. Vincent’s

1. Children’s Medical Mission of Haiti. CMMH is a separate 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. It began in the Episcopal Diocese of East Tennessee but is now a national organization with members of the Board of Directors from throughout the United States. CMMH supports the Operating Budget of St. Vincent’s; currently sending $8,500 a month (with a 13th check being sent in December because in Haiti an additional month’s salary is given at the end of the year). More on the salary issue later. Since the earthquake, CMMH has provided funds to build a large wall, with both a vehicle and pedestrian gate, fronting the main campus in Port-au-Prince. The wall is complete, securing the grounds, where two security guards are present. Funds were also provided to repair the brace shop, and the three classrooms above it; as well as repairing the surgical suite. All of this construction is soon to be completed. A member of CMMH is on the Board of Directors of the Friends of St. Vincent’s (see below).

Primary contacts: The Rev. Canon Bill Squire, Mr. Ken Quigley.

2. The Friends of St. Vincent’s. The Friends, also a separate nonprofit organization, are from West Hartford, CT. This organization has been in existence for a number of years and has provided assistance to St. Vincent’s in wonderful ways. The Friends fund specific projects and since the earthquake have provided funds to renovate a building at the Boy’s Foyer (around the corner from the main campus) which is used as the temporary school; provided funds for desks, chairs, and other needed furniture for the classrooms; funded the purchase of school supplies for the children; provide scholarships for four of the young adults to continue school beyond St. Vincent’s; and are funding a proposed water purification system at the Foyer. A member of the Friends of St. Vincent’s is on the Board of Directors of CMMH. Primary contacts: Ms. Hope Lennartz, Mr. Bill Harris.

3. Presbyterian Church, USA. The Presbyterian Church has supported St. Vincent’s in the past, and has committed to doing so in the future. A group visited St. Vincent’s earlier this year to determine just how they might help. At this point, they are hopeful, through their Medical Benevolence Foundation, to provide significant funding for the reconstruction of St. Vincent’s. They will be sending another group to continue their discussions with Father Sadoni in March of this year. Primary contacts, Ms. Pix Mahler, Mr. Bob Ellis, Mr. Bill Simmons.

4. West Tennessee Haiti Partnership. This group is relatively new in their commitment to St. Vincent’s. It began as a group of Episcopalians from Memphis, TN, but is now more ecumenical. For several years they have sent a medical mission team to St. Vincent’s twice a year. They also maintain a partnership with St. Paul’s Church in Montrouis. They have sent two containers of food (one arriving just before the earthquake and was so very helpful in providing food for the “tent city” set up at College St. Pierre in Port-au-Prince at the time. They have had several fund raising events and recently sent $10,000 to the Friends of St. Vincent’s toward the $30,000 needed to install the water purification system. A member of this group is now on the Board of Directors of the Friends of St. Vincent’s. Primary contacts, the Rev. Ollie Rencher, the Rev. Drew Woodruff, Dr. Susan Nelson.

5. Washington, D.C. Haiti Coalition. This group was organized in 2010. It began at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, Capitol Hill and has become an ecumenical effort in our nation’s capitol. It has recently had a “service to serve Haiti” event where people from various church denominations and nonprofit organizations shared their concerns and showed their willingness to enter into partnership with their brothers and sisters in Haiti. We look forward to their being involved with St. Vincent’s. Primary contact, Ms. Margaret McClaughlin.

6. The Red Thread Promise. This ecumenical group has recently committed to supporting St. Vincent’s. They invited Father Sadoni to New Orleans, LA in mid-2010 to enter into discussions on how they might help. They have just completed an exploratory trip to Haiti with five of their members. They brought with them medical supplies, to include a new child’s wheelchair, a cast cutter, and six stethoscopes. Two of their members will accompany The West Tennessee Haiti Partnership on their medical mission to St. Vincent’s in March. Primary contact, Ms. Kathy Korge Albergate.

7. Aid and Relief, Japan. AAR, Japan built a temporary medical clinic on the grounds of the Boy’s Foyer – it is now operational. The building includes rooms for: eye clinic, physical therapy, club foot, orthopedics, pharmacy, temporary brace shop (to be moved soon back to the main campus, at which time this space will be used for a dental clinic), and a restroom. They also provided funding for staff and faculty for several months, and bought some material for the clinic. Primary contact, Father Sadoni.

8. World Rehabilitation Fund. This group has supported the Brace Shop in the past and has committed to providing new equipment for the brace shop once it is operational at its permanent location. Primary contact, Mr. Jack Victor.

9. Perkins School for the Blind, Boston, MA. On several occasions Perkins has provided training for Father Sadoni in the caring and education of the blind students at St. Vincent’s, on trips to the United States sponsored by Dr. Harriet Epstein. They have committed to providing materials (all blind students currently have access to a brailler), and training faculty and staff. Primary contact, Steven Rothstein.

10. Catholic Relief Services, Haiti. CRS is a local organization in Port-au-Prince that provides food to St. Vincent’s; primarily wheat, oil, and beans. Primary contact, Father Sadoni.

11. Food for the Poor, Haiti. This local organization provides rice on a regular basis, and sometimes provides other food items as well. Primary contact, Father Sadoni.

12. Save the Children, Haiti. Save the Children provided a temporary shelter on the grounds of the foyer which can be used as a temporary classroom or office space; it is eventually to be used for typing classes. They also have an after school program at the Foyer and have committed to the purchase of mattresses and beds. Primary contact, Father Sadoni.

13. World Vision. This group has committed to provide training for the Montesorri Program, if it can be restarted. They will also provide training materials, etc. Primary contact, Father Sadoni.

14. Diocese of Haiti. The Diocese has an emergency relief agency, CEDDISEC, which often can provide materials to the institutions of the diocese. There is no specific program providing anything to St. Vincent’s at this time, but they have been supportive in the past. Primary contact, Father Sadoni.

15. Haitian Government. The government of Haiti does provide salaries for some teachers and professional persons in schools and medical facilities. Currently they pay six teachers, a doctor, and a nurse at St. Vincent’s (those persons are not included later as part of the operating budget of St. Vincent’s).

Current Activities at St. Vincent’s

1. 80 residents at the dormitory at the Boy’s Foyer.
2. 275 students in the school. All blind students have braillers. One brailler was sent to Archaie for a former St. Vincent’s student who is in secondary school there. Two braillers came from a priest in Honduras! The deaf students will take the official examination at St. Vincent’s at the conclusion of this school year for the first time.
3. 89 persons on staff and faculty, 81 of whom are paid from the operating budget (Father Sadoni is paid separately and presently the Haiti government pays the salary of seven people). The total number of employees has been reduced from 125. Only qualified, trained teachers are being rehired.
4. 40 teachers (and assistants) on the operating budget payroll. There are two volunteer teachers from France.
5. Medical Clinic operating three times a week, Wednesday being the most active.
6. Main Floor of the Temporary School: Director’s office, administrative office, one classroom (that will eventually become an office), a storage room, and toilets for students. Second Floor has seven classrooms and a toilet facility. There is a usable wheelchair ramp.
7. Six temporary small classrooms (concrete) in what was once the courtyard at the Foyer.
8. Currently there are adequate supplies for the children in school (obviously, more will be needed in the future).
9. The following musical instruments have been sent by various people: a saxophone, a trombone, two flutes, a clarinet, a trumpet, several guitars, two keyboards, 3 violins, and the bells for the bell choir, (which were saved from the music room after the earthquake). Father Sadoni is negotiating for a music teacher from the music school so that students can learn on the wind instruments. There is a volunteer art teacher that comes in the afternoon that is helping with some of the stringed instruments.
10. A water purification project, not unlike what was installed at the seminary grounds, is being proposed at the Foyer. Father Sadoni is working with the Friends of St. Vincent’s to accomplish this.The brace shop, which is currently housed in the medical clinic at the foyer, will soon move back to its original location on the main campus. Pierre Guy is to return to work at the brace shop one day a week. The upper grades will be using the three classrooms above the brace shop on the main campus, as soon as the renovation of that building is complete (expected soon – they were painting while I was there).
11. I spoke with Dr. Phil Caldwell from NC, a dentist who supplied equipment for the dental clinic at St. Vincent’s in the past, (we stayed at the same hotel).He has offered to again be involved with the institution. Once the brace shop is moved back to the main campus, space will become available for a dental clinic.
12. Four former St. Vincent’s students have scholarships to secondary schools; they are all orphans. There are children who qualify for secondary education whose parents cannot afford it – yet there are not scholarships available for them at this time.
13. Father Sadoni is the priest-in-charge of the Church of the Epiphany in Port-au-Prince. He does the Sunday services, two 6:30 a.m. services during the week, and a Friday afternoon Bible study. He sees to the pastoral needs of the congregation.
14. Salaries of St. Vincent’s employees remain an issue. For instance, the teachers are paid an average of $95 U.S. a month (3345 goudes), and the government required minimum salary is $170 U.S. (6000 goudes). These figures are based on an exchange rate of 35 goudes to a U.S. dollar. Father Sadoni wants to raise the teacher salaries to the minimum required salary. To do so he requires an additional approximately $3,000 a month. Realizing that is not feasible at this time, he is hopeful to increase the budget’s income to a point where he can at least raise the salaries of the most experienced and qualified teachers at St. Vincent’s. The teachers at St. Vincent’s that are paid by the government are being paid the minimum required wage. This obviously creates a morale problem among the faculty. The economy has of course gotten considerably worse since the earthquake and income at St. Vincent’s has been reduced accordingly. Many more families can no longer pay tuition at the school; the medical clinic has a reduced income level; the guest facilities are no longer available and consequently are not producing any income; and the brace shop produces very little income, if any, at this time. So, the only hope for increased income is from the U.S. partners at this time. Eventually, it is hoped that the school/medical clinic/guest facilities/brace shop will again produce income, at least at the level before the earthquake. This challenge needs to be addressed by U.S. partners and solved!

Diocesan Activity
1. Health Committee. A Health Committee is being organized by Bishop Duracin to serve the diocese. It is designed as a supervisory board. Mike McIntyre, ERD Consultant, is assisting the bishop in this endeavor. St. Vincent’s, Hospital St. Croix, Darbonne, and the Nursing School will be represented on the committee. Each institution will have its own advisory board (appointed by the bishop) with Haitians constituting the majority of each board. Father Sadoni has been appointed to Chair the Diocesan Health Committee. Each institution’s Advisory Board’s chairperson will be on the Health Committee. There will two at-large members and four representatives from the U.S. partners/friends group. The specifics are not yet determined; it is planned to have an eleven member committee at this time. The bishop and a medical advisor will be ex-officio and sit with the committee.
2. Hospital St. Croix. Bishop Duracin is satisfied with the progress at Hospital St. Croix, and its director, Dr. Gladys. He said that the Presbyterian Church is working on the plans for reconstruction. There is a team going to Leogane later this month.
3. There has been construction outside of Port-au-Prince (i.e., Leogane, etc.). The government is still trying to discern who owns what property in the capitol city. There is still talk about Episcopal institutions gaining more property in the city. There is no visible construction in Port-au-Prince (with the exception of the large wall fronting St. Vincent’s). A governmental office has been established to approve all construction before it commences.
4. A financial administrator has been hired and is now working at the diocese office. He is from Zimbabwe, and has worked in Haiti in the past. He will be working with all institutions regarding budget and construction costs, etc.

I know this is a long report, but I hope you all find the information helpful. I know I have left out some things, but have done my best to get all this information on one report so that we can find ways to cooperate in our supporting the ministry of St. Vincent’s. May God continue to bless the children of St. Vincent’s, and may our cooperative ministry with Father Sadoni, his staff and faculty, be directed by God.

contributed by Fr. Bill Squire, president of Children’s Medical Mission of Haiti

This entry was posted in Other Visitors to St. Vincent's, Stories & Updates. Bookmark the permalink.