Our vision is a community where individuals cannot just survive, but truly thrive in the pursuit of their dreams.
We know that exceptional primary care cannot be successful in isolation, in a resource poor environment like rural Haiti. When our patients leave the clinic many have limited access to a nutritious diet or educational and economic opportunities to support their families, which limits their ability to thrive. As we strive to treat the whole patient, acknowledging the complex web of biological, social, and environmental factors that impact human health, we have developed a number of community development programs that integrate our clinical services to maximize impact.
Education opens doors. SRHF believes that every child has the right to an education, and because primary and secondary school is not free or guaranteed in Haiti, we have established an educational sponsorship program. Through this program we cover tuition costs and provide a stipend to families to ensure they are able to provide food to nourish their children and families and provide the materials necessary for students to be successful.
In 2018 we began a partnership with InnovEd and the Universite Quisqueya ( InnovEd-UniQ), providing the main certified schools in Saint Rock with comprehensive, research-based model of professional development for teachers and school directors. InnovEd-UniQ, who works in close relationship with Haiti’s Ministry of Education, also seeks to innovate and design high-quality educational programs that will equip students with the adequate knowledge, skills and disposition to be successful contributors to Haitian society.
Starting in 2015, SRHF established a University Scholarship Program through a generous grant from the Flatley Foundation. We were able to send 17 students to university, many graduates of our educational sponsorship program, with full financial support. This is a dream previously unreachable for the children of the Saint Rock community and we are thrilled to be able to continue to provide this opportunity into the future.
Many women aspire to have their own business yet lack the necessary funds. Micro-loan programs are an effective way of providing financial literacy and support in developing communities around the world. In May 2008, the first Saint Rock Haiti Foundation microloans were awarded. Many women throughout the community applied for $60 loans to start retail businesses, of which 20 were selected. With a 97% re-payment rate, the program teaches accounting skills to loan recipients as they begin building their small businesses. These small businesses provide the income which allows parents to send their children to school, purchase food and medicine, and grow their local economy.
Throughout Haiti, unsafe water and poor sanitation exacerbate an already high maternal and infant mortality rate. After several years of research and testing, construction of the clean water initiative began in 2009. The project is now pumping water from a clean mountain spring to several cisterns spread throughout the community. Before the construction of these cisterns, women and children had to hike up the mountain to retrieve water for their families. This program has helped to greatly reduce the risk of water-borne illness for our patients. We regularly test the water in the cisterns to ensure it is safe to consume.
The goal of SRHF’s Community Garden program is to address and combat food insecurity, malnutrition, and poverty through targeted local food production. Fully funded by SRHF, this project supports ongoing community development endeavors, and overlaps with existing Public Health goals as rationale for how and why community gardens can positively impact Saint Rock. By supporting and educating local populations on cultivating key crops, we can empower the Saint Rock community and create increased food security.
Maize is the primary crop we focus on cultivating for our agriculture program. This is for 4 primary reasons:
- Maize is a staple food in the Haitian diet, and can be used for supporting local livestock.
- St. Rock has a long history of cultivating Maize on small plots of land.
- St. Rock has only two rainy seasons, and limited access to water otherwise. Given Maize’s short time to reach maturity and cultivate, it is an efficient crop to produce in the limited time frame allowed.
- Since Haitians have been farming Maize for generations, the local variety is highly adapted to St. Rock’s soil and climate.
SRHF’s latest agricultural project has been developing an egg-laying chicken program. One of the largest challenges in addressing malnutrition within Saint Rock’s local population is the significant deficit in protein. The program started with a series of veterinary training seminars, offered to local community members to teach them how to raise and care for their chickens and other livestock. Several participants were given chickens and they are now laying eggs. The goal for this program is to grow into a community cooperative that will increase food security and diversity within local diets, support the health center malnutrition program and provide economic opportunities for the community through the sales of eggs. To date several individuals have enrolled in a veterinary seminar to learn how to raise and provide basic veterinary care. These individuals received the first chicks in 2016 and they have begun to lay eggs! The goal for this program is to grow into a community cooperative coop that will serve a dual purpose to increasing food security and diversity within local diets while also providing economic opportunity for the community through the sale of eggs.
In 2016 Hurricane Matthew made landfall in Haiti leaving a path of destruction. Many of the simple tin, stick and mud structures that many families in the Saint Rock region call home were damaged or destroyed. Community leaders came together and did a comprehensive assessment of need in the community and foundation donors stepped forward. To date, several homes have been rebuilt or rehabilitated bringing basic comfort to families in the community.
This housing program continues today. Numerous homes have been constructed with the help of US volunteers who work alongside our Haitian skilled laborers. A simple but safe structure can be built within several days but provides years of dignity to a family in need.