Citizens of all nations question how well their country’s social institutions and systems function, especially in an election year. But how often do we discuss the very existence of fundamental institutions?
In Haiti’s tumultuous history, the growth of its social institutions has been thwarted repeatedly, creating human suffering and leaving the nation vulnerable for all manner of attempts to alleviate that suffering. Haiti’s 2010 earthquake intensified this already existing problem to the point where Haiti was called a “Republic of NGOs.”
The Haitian Project Chooses a Different Path
The Haitian Project (THP) recognizes the importance of working with, and for the growth of, social institutions. The Catholic values of subsidiarity and solidarity guide its mission of education steeped in service. And, sometimes, life offers poignant reminders that THP has chosen the right path. This past September, Haitian Project News featured a story about how medical student and junior staff member Lochard Laguerre (LCS ‘14) fell ill with perforated appendicitis. Fortunately, he was able to receive excellent care from another LCS alumnus, Dr. Jean-Came-Emile Poulard (LCS ‘06). Read their story here.
The backside of this beautiful story is the struggle that exists for Haitian physicians to find work when Haiti is saturated with foreign medical missions. Jon Kennedy, former Director of the Office of External Affairs for THP and a Foreign Service graduate from Georgetown University, knows this problem well because he saw first-hand the challenges Louverture Cleary grads face in trying to find work after graduating from medical school.
Medical care provided by international doctors needs to be within a larger framework that supports Haiti’s medical system.... Strengthening local medical education, hiring Haitian doctors, and working to give local doctors incentives to stay in Haiti are small but essential ways to bring about a better future in Haiti.
THP’s community has a tremendous opportunity, in solidarity, to be a voice for the power of education to transform nations and support good institutions. Like the parable of the mustard seed, we hope the relatively small action of building The Louverture Cleary Schools Network will become a significant step towards stronger institutions in Haiti.
Scott LeGrand, MD, Chair of THP’s Board of Directors, explains:
My medical colleagues assume that if I go to Haiti it is to do medical work. Explaining the mission of THP creates an opportunity to talk about the competition that is created for employment when foreign doctors provide free services in Haiti, making it difficult for Haitian doctors to find work. People get this and begin to see things in a new light.