deaf, blind and handicapped students
Food. Water. Shelter. The three most basic human necessities.
EVERYONE needs them: every country, every race, every gender, every economic position, every social status. These are the foundations for sustaining human life.
Included in that collective everyone are the children at St. Vincent’s Center for Handicapped Children who are near and dear to our hearts. While this project focuses on two of these items -- food and water -- the kids at St. Vincent’s are in crisis and need all three.
Only a few short months ago, the Haitian government informed Fr. Sadoni, St. Vincent’s Director, that they were taking the Center’s property as well as all of the properties on the entire block for use in re-building governmental agencies destroyed in the earthquake. (Note: in Haiti, the government has eminent domain and this is not an uncommon occurance.)
By summer's end, St. Vincent’s would need to re-locate the dormitory for 90 residential students and staff (including the orphans who call St. Vincent’s home), school (serving 250 children), and clinic (serving all of the students and the community). An exhaustive search was launched for a new space. Staying downtown as close to the current location as possible is critical because there are over 150 students who travel to St. Vincent’s school daily from far across Port-au-Prince and beyond. Moving the facility even a few miles in any direction would directly impact many student’s ability to get to school, prohibiting many from attending at all.
In addition, property prices in the city are very high, out of the range of the only school for handicapped children in Haiti. Most of the good properties have been bought by NGOs and others who can afford the exorbitant prices. The search has left Fr. Sadoni breathless with very few affordable choices.
On either side of St. Vincent’s property, buildings have been knocked down until only the Center’s walls and buildings remain, unnerving the children and elevating everyone’s stress levels. In the midst of packing all items that aren’t nailed down and securing them at another less vulnerable location, the Center’s water cistern was stolen off the roof of the water purification center we helped fund a few years ago. Their drinking water supply has been shut off and they are forced to purchase water for the children at a high cost. In desperation, Fr. Sadoni has resorted to sending every child back to their family as he is unable to feed them. Only the orphans and staff remain.
The food frequency varies depending on funding. It costs $6,060 to feed everyone for a month, only $202 per day. Meals consist of an oatmeal porridge or bread in the morning with rice and beans in the afternoon. Nothing more.
There is so much uncertainty in these children’s lives right now. Let’s give them something constant - food and clean water. Through these gifts they will remember that someone cared about them, a gift that will last far beyond any single meal.
We encourage you to share St. Vincent’s plight with your family, friends, employers, civic groups and churches. It takes a village…
a meal we served the kids on our last trip
TRTP VP, Sonya, and deaf students
Fr. Sadoni and Danika, a deaf student