Frequently Asked Questions

What is Sister Cities Essex Haiti?
How can I help?
What is the mission of Sister Cities Essex Haiti?
What is Hospital Albert Schweitzer? 
What is ODES?
What community projects are you working on?
What is the status of the library project?
Does Sister Cities Essex Haiti have any employees?

How did the earthquake effect Deschapelles?
Where is Deschapelles?
Why Haiti?

How many people in Haiti live under the poverty line?

What is the literacy rate in Haiti?
How can I make a donation to Sister Cities Essex Haiti?
How can I volunteer for Sister Cities Essex Haiti?

What is Sister Cities International?

What is Sister Cities Essex Haiti?

Sister Cities Essex Haiti, a Connecticut non-stock corporation, was created in the Spring of 2010 by a group of Essex residents with an existing commitment to Haiti with the support of the Selectmen of the Town of Essex after the devastating earthquake that struck Haiti in January 2010. Its mission is to build a mutual long-term sustainable relationship between the people of Essex, Connecticut, USA and the people of Deschapelles, Haiti, their extended communities, and Hospital Albert Schweitzer located in Deschapelles.

Sister Cities Essex Haiti works to build cooperation between the people of these communities, enabling them to learn, work and solve problems together through an exchange of educational, cultural, professional, municipal, business, and technical initiatives and projects.

In support of the mission of Sister Cities Essex Haiti, we:

(1) actively support Hospital Albert Schweitzer by raising funds for HAS and by informing Connecticut-area residents of its good works,

(2) work collaboratively with Organization pour Development Economique et Social (ODES), a volunteer group in Deschapelles, Haiti, to identify and pursue projects that are needed or desired in the community, and

(3) engage in initiatives in southeastern Connecticut that increase awareness of Haiti and its unique culture.

For more information about the creation of Sister Cities Essex Haiti, click here.

How can I help?

There are a variety of ways you can help. Please contact us and we can explore how best to use your talents! Of course, Donations are always appreciated!

What is the mission of Sister Cities Essex Haiti?

The mission of Sister Cities Essex Haiti is to sustain partnerships with the people of Deschapelles, Haiti  which expand educational and cultural opportunities. 

The vision of Sister Cities Essex Haiti is to envision the community of Deschapelles flourishing educationally and culturally. 

What is Hospital Albert Schweitzer?

Hospital Albert Schweitzer
in rural Deschapelles, Haiti, is a model for health care facilities in developing countries around the world. An integrated rural health system, HAS provides medical care and community health and development programs for more than 300,000 impoverished people in the Artibonite Valley of central Haiti. In the days immediately following the January 2010 earthquake, it provided care to over 1,000 patients, mostly needing surgical care. For more information about HAS, please visit their website at www.hashaiti.org.

What is ODES?

ODES (Organization Pour Development Economique and Social) is an all-volunteer organization, formed in 2007 of leading citizens in the Town of Deschapelles, Haiti and its environs, who meet weekly to discuss and implement economic and social development in Deschapelles. All members of the community are welcome. ODES is closely linked to, and supportive of, Hospital Albert Schweitzer. ODES could be compared to a Lion’s Club, Rotary, or Chamber of Commerce in the United States. Sister Cities Essex Haiti collaborates with ODES to identify and consummate projects that will improve the quality of life in Deschapelles and its environs.

What community projects are you working on?

As of the September 2011, three projects are underway: (1) the creation of a community library in Deschapelles, (2) a musical collaboration among musicians and music lovers in Essex and Deschapelles, (3) a teacher training program, and (4) a sports program.

What is the status of the library project?

First, we have obtained a very attractive and desirable site for the library located in the heart of Deschapelles. Second, we are collaborating with the ODES Library Committee on the design of the building. Third, we have identified a project manager for the construction of the building. Fourth, we have trained two Deschapelles residents to be librarians and a third will be trained soon. Fifth, we have raised funds for the library sufficient to prepare the site for construction. Sixth, the ODES and SCEH Library Committees are actively seeking grants. Seventh, we are researching items that are needed for the library: e.g. energy sources (solar panels, generator as there is no publicly supplied electricity); computers; composting toilets; furniture; books.

Does Sister Cities Essex Haiti have any employees?

No. Sister Cities Essex Haiti is comprised entirely of volunteers.

How did the earthquake effect Deschapelles?

While the epicenter of the January 2010 earthquake was centered in and to the southwest of Port au Prince, the Deschapelles area suffered minor structural damage. Many people have left Port au Prince, however, and have relocated to the countryside putting increased pressure on limited resources.

Where is Deschapelles?

Deschapelles, Haiti (population roughly estimated to be 14,000 people) is located 2-3 hours north of Port au Prince in the middle of Haiti’s northern peninsula alongside the Artibonite River. It is nestled in the valley, between two mountain ranges, about five miles west of the nearest city, Verettes.

Why Haiti?

The need in Haiti, just a short distance (710 miles) from the United States, is overwhelming, particularly in light of the massive magnitude 7.0 earthquake that struck in January 2010. Port au Prince, the capital of Haiti, suffered massive damage. Basic infrastructure such as water delivery, sanitation, housing, transportation, and food supply and delivery were inadequate before the earthquake and are even worse today. It is reported that as many as 250,000 people were killed although the number is difficult to determine as many people were buried in mass graves. As a result, many people have left Port au Prince and have relocated to the countryside. Since the earthquake, Haiti has been combatting a cholera epidemic. Deschapelles is approximately 2-3 hours north of Port au Prince. There was not much damage in Deschapelles from the earthquake but it has been inundated with people from Port au Prince putting increased pressure on limited resources. While the need in Haiti is great, the people have a spirit of fortitude, perseverance, and ingenuity that we can all learn from and benefit.

How many people in Haiti live under the poverty line?

80% live under the poverty line and 54% live in abject poverty. The unemployment rate is 80%. The minimum wage is less than US $5.00 per day.

What is the literacy rate in Haiti?

52.9% of the total population age 15 and over can read and write.

How can I make a donation to Sister Cities Essex Haiti?

While Sister Cities Essex Haiti is a non-profit corporation, it is not a 501(c)(3) corporation that can accept tax-deductible contributions. It has, however, established a designated fund at Middlesex County Community Foundation, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization. All donations to Sister Cities Essex Haiti are made through MCCF and are tax-deductible according to federal guidelines. Click here to make a donation.

What is CFMC?

CFMC is the Community Foundation of Middlesex County, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization. It is dedicated to enhancing and improving the quality of life in Middlesex County, Connecticut where the Town of Essex is located. CFMC assists donors in meeting their charitable objectives through the establishment of designated funds, such as Sister Cities Essex Haiti, and through the creation of restricted and unrestricted endowments during their lifetime or through planned gifts. The Community Foundation of Middlesex County supports the philanthropic efforts of dedicated Middlesex County residents.

The Community Foundation of Middlesex County views Sister Cities Essex Haiti as a wonderful example of how people in Middlesex County reach out to help others in need—here and outside its region. It believes SCEH will establish a relationship with people beyond its borders that will enrich Middlesex County residents through a greater understanding of one another’s culture and characteristics.

To learn more about CFMC, please visit their website. To make a donation to Sister Cities Essex Haiti, click here.

How can I volunteer for Sister Cities Essex Haiti?

Please contact us if you are interested in helping us.

What is Sister Cities International?

Sister Cities International is an organization formed in 1956 by President Dwight D. Eisenhower as a means by which to encourage cultural understanding, economic relationships, and humanitarian projects. Sister Cities Essex Haiti is a member of Sister Cities International.