A New Home and a New Vision
for St. Vincent’s Centre for Handicapped Children
In October 2015, after more than 18 months of negotiations, fund raising, and sheer determination, a new site for St. Vincent’s Centre for Handicapped Children was purchased in the area of Santos 17.
It is located in a northern suburb of Port-au-Prince about a 20-minute drive from the airport. The site includes a large house, which can be converted into a residence hall for the students, fruit trees, a swimming pool that can be used for therapy, and about seven acres of open, flat land surrounded by a security fence.
WHERE ARE THE CHILDREN NOW?
The children currently live and go to school at Site 2, formerly known as the Foyer. These are temporary facilities constructed after the earthquake to house the children while developing plans for a new school. Recently, water damage in the boy’s bedrooms revealed some structural damage. After a more complete examination by engineers, it became apparent that significant renovation and reconstruction would be necessary to make the present facility safe and functional.
One plan was to spend about $200,000 on the current facility, which would be torn down by the government as soon as the students left. The site is located in an area of a major downtown restoration. Or the newly purchased site at Santos 17 could be renovated to receive the students while funding for the larger, new facility was obtained. While this option would cost more, about $300,000, most of the work done there could be used permanently, or repurposed when the new construction was completed.
To encourage the start of the renovations at Santos 17, and to help jump-start fund-raising for the facility, the Board of the Children’s Medical Mission of Haiti approved a $100,000 matching grant from its endowment. The Development Office of the Episcopal Church has taken on the responsibility for raising money for the renovations at Santos 17 and funding for the new school, as well as securing additional funds for the St. Vincent’s Endowment.
SO WHAT IS THE ROLE OF CMMH?
While the purchase of the land, the renovation of the buildings, and the move to Santos 17 are significant steps toward a new vision for St. Vincent’s, the day-to-day needs of the children need to be met. Teachers need salaries. Food must be purchased. The children need places to sleep and the care and comforts of life. That is our role. CMMH is the only group currently focused on meeting the operational needs of the Centre.
Currently St. Vincent’s cares for 328 students – 71 blind or visually impaired, 164 deaf or hearing impaired, 45 physically handicapped, 23 mentally handicapped, and 25 non-disabled children for inclusion. No small task.
Mission of CMMH
The Children’s Medical Mission of Haiti is a 501c 3 organization committed to providing support for the delivery of medical and educational services to the children of Haiti through St. Vincent’s Centre for Handicapped Children, Port-au-Prince. It also serves as an umbrella organization for related missions in Haiti and facilitates and organizes the Haiti Connection Conferences.
For more information on helping or donating to CMMH please CLICK HERE.