Founded in 2001, the Vassar Haiti Project (VHP) engages students in a life-changing experiential education in global citizenship, promoting Haitian art and fostering sustainable development in Haiti. In addition to the purchase and sale of original Haitian art, VHP’s contributions are guided by five initiatives in the mountain village of Chermaitre.
|With a strong educational component, we are dedicated both to raising awareness of Haitian culture and society in the US and elsewhere, and to providing a hands-on, practical education in global citizenship.||Through art auctions and sales, we directly support the welfare of hundreds of Haitian artists and artisans.||These art sales in turn provide means of support for funding education, healthcare, water access and purification, reforestation, and women’s initiatives in Chermaitre, a mountain village in the Northwest department of Haiti.|
The Vassar Haiti Project was created after 9/11 when Andrew and Lila Meade decided that it was time to do something positive for our world. Why Haiti? Andrew Meade lived in Haiti as a teen where his father worked for the Foreign Service at the US Embassy and coincidentally, Lila Metres Meade had her own roots in Haiti, where her Mother lived as a young child in Port au Prince in the 1920’s. Haiti runs deep in the hearts of Andrew and Lila.
The idea of the Vassar Haiti Project is first proposed to the Dean of Vassar College.///
VHP holds its first art sale, and starts supporting the lunch program in L'ecole St. Paul.
VHP funds its first capital project, and begins construction of a new, seven-room primary school building in Chermaitre.
The Water and Health Initiatives are formed. VHP begins holding mobile, bi-monthly clinics.
The first phase of the Water Initiative is completed. Gravity-driven water pipes and cisterns now provide the first running water for the village.
The first trees are planted on a community plot, as a part of the reforestation initiative programs.
Construction begins on the Fiervil medical clinic, located at the base of the mountain climb to Chermaitre.
The medical clinic opens, operating with a full-time nurse and part-time doctor.///
Construction begins on a multi-use structure, which will provide a space to be used as kindergarten classrooms, a community center and a church building.
Femmes de Chermatire, a women's co-operative, is formed in Chermaitre.///
VHP launches a secondary school scholarship program to allow student to continue their education beyond the 6th grade.
The Vassar Haiti Project is awarded a $55,000 Rotary International Grant for water access and purification.///
VHP receives a $41,000 grant from Episcopal Dioceses, intended to help fund the completion of a dual-purpose community center and building.///
VHP has now planted 14,000 trees over an 18-month period, achieved with an $8,000 grant from American Forests.///
VHP provides short-term relief as well as support for long-term rebuilding efforts to artists, artisans and Chermaitre families who were impacted by Hurricane Matthew.
VHP receives a $20,000 grant from FOKAl to continue the successful community-based reforestation program.///
Kindergarten classrooms are added as part of the ongoing construction of a multi-use building.///
Work is nearing completion on the Rotary Foundation funded water access and purification project.
Who We Are
& How We Work
Meet the people
VHP operates as a 3-way partnership
We are a highly mentored, student-centered educational program based at Vassar College. We seek to broaden the global perspective of and cultivate global citizenship among our 100 student volunteers. Participants are faced with real life circumstances and challenges in which to practice and apply their curricular learning. We teach students how to navigate differences in order to make positive change in the world. This program, unique among liberal arts peer schools, engages students with the curriculum in a deep, profoundly educational, moral and political – yet also experiential and practical way.
The Haiti Project, Inc. is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization incorporated in the State of New York. Haiti Project, Inc. buys and sells original art from Haiti. The proceeds of art sales, grants and donations provide the funding to support sustainable development initiatives in Chermaitre, Haiti.
We partner with community organizations, institutions and businesses in both educating and raising awareness about Haitian culture and society.