This is Vassar: The newsletter for Vassar College Alumnae/i and Families

Photo Credit: Courtesy Vassar College Media Relations

The Vassar Haiti Project Celebrates 10 Years

From Friday, April 8 through Sunday, April 10 the Vassar Haiti Project (VHP) will host its tenth annual Haitian Art Sale and Auction, featuring over 350 original Haitian paintings, silk scarves, sculptures, and other handicrafts. An opening reception on Friday at 5:00pm will include a screening of a documentary about VHP by Cannes Film Festival award-winner Alex Camilleri ’10, Madison Silverstein ’11, and Sean Morash ’13.

The VHP – co-directed by Lila and Andrew Meade – works to benefit the remote Haitian village of Chermaitre, focusing on four primary initiatives: education, reforestation, water, and health. They are noble but potentially daunting areas of work in a country with 98% deforestation, 70% illiteracy, and 50% unemployment.

And yet, the VHP is making a difference. Since 2001, it has funded a school lunch program, paid teacher salaries, and funded the construction of a seven-room primary school building that now serves 340 students with nine teachers. It has also planted thousands of fruit and coffee trees on the hillsides surrounding the village, established a water collection and purification system, and established the region’s first medical clinic in the neighboring village of L’Acul.

To date thousands of works of art have been sold, raising more than $650,000. “We’re ... creating change through art,” says Andrew Meade, who lived and studied in Haiti in the 1970s, and whose daughters - Kristen '10 and Lily '14 - have both been involved with the project. “Our goal has always been to create sustainability in our adopted Haitian community.” Year by year, artwork by artwork, sale by sale, that goal has been slowly coming to fruition. – PB

April 2011

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