West Tennessee Haiti Partnership

We’re Moving!


With the approval of Bishop Duracin, St Vincent’s has a newly formed Governing Board, officially entitled Board of St. Vincent’s Center for Handicapped Children, Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

The purpose of this Board shall be to assist the Episcopal Diocese of Haiti by providing direction, oversight, and supervision for the overall operations of St. Vincent’s Center for Handicapped Children.

A majority of the Board shall be made up of Haitian Nationals. The Board members shall serve as unpaid volunteers. The current board has 9 members including Bill Craddock as board chair and Dr. Susan Nelson, along with 2 other Americans and 5 Haitian members.

Bill Craddock stated things very well in my opinion when he stated that St Vincent’s community (SVC) has been built as a family.  Now we need structure.  We are integrating an organizational structure into a family structure. 

The board approved hiring of an administrator, and Aurelie Fievre started work on July 1, 2016.  She is tasked with organizing the various departments of the school as well as their financial reports, and working with the school’s partners to create enhanced communication and improve delivery of services to the Center.

Additionally, the board voted to move SVC to Santos 17, the new land purchased last summer. The major reasons supporting this proposal include:

  • Need for more space for growth and educational opportunities
  • Safety and security for children
  • Deed on Site 2 (current site of classrooms and dorms)  held by government – they can seize property at any time
  • Old and dangerous current building structure
  • Demographic shift trends to Santos areas
  • Fundraising opportunities stronger for new location

In order to move to Santos 17, construction is required to rehab the current house to accommodate 50+ people. This includes students who board at the school during the academic year as well as permanent residents and caretakers— they need a second septic tank, expansion of the kitchen, put up some classrooms.

Estimate is that construction will take 4 months.  There are larger plans for expanding the facilities including a music room, library, chapel, but we’re talking only about what it would take to safely house the boarders and residents and to get school started.  The rest of the facilities can be built as we raise more money

CMMH has offered $100K to begin construction.  Jennifer Wickham  as the Development Coordinator will begin serious fund raising right away, now that we have a definite plan in place.  The endowment from CMMH must be replenished, as well as additional funds for building, raising salaries, etc.  

The urgent need to move the students NOW out of the unsafe buildings at Site 2 was discussed at length.  Finally, the decision of the board was to look for a house to rent over the summer, or perhaps two houses. to move the 20 permanent residents and 6 caretakers.  The rent is estimated at $1000-2000 per month, until the facilities at Santos 17 can be built and ready for inhabitants.   This may delay the start of the school year, depending on construction pace.  

This is certainly not a comprehensive report but if you have read all the way to this point, then you are obviously committed to the success of St Vincent’s Center.  2020 will be our 75th anniversary as an institution.  In Haiti, that’s saying something!  Already discussing plans and hopes for a major anniversary event…..

Thanks to you all for prayers and dreams of what our children could be and accomplish with our ongoing efforts.  

Susan Nelson
Medical Director
West Tennessee Haiti Partnership

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