Friends of the Children of Lascahobas, Haiti, Inc. is an organization dedicated to improving the lives of the children of Lascahobas. It started more than thirty years ago when Estelle Dubuisson collected one dollar each from some of the employees in the Laboratory Service at the Veterans Administration Hospital in the Bronx. Those funds were used to help build the Church of Lascahobas. As time went on, she organized dances, bus rides, and raffles to raise money for school supplies for the children. Following a visit to Haiti in 1976, Ms. Dubuisson returned to New York determined to do everything that she could to improve the lives of the children in her native town. Realizing that she could not do it alone, she solicited the aid of Dr. Josephine English.
In 1976, an organization was formed and formally named Friends of the Children of Lascahobas, Haiti (FCLH). The IRS gave FCLH the status of a non-profit organization in 1980. On December 23, 1981, using funds collected in the United States, we donated an ambulance to the community. In 1982, we established a Child Care Nutrition Center and an Eye Clinic. Every weekday, Monday through Friday, the Center fed 300 children one meal each; it also sent 97 6-year olds to elementary school and 30 children, ages 10 to 15, to evening school. In 1986, FCLH erected a building, then valued at $42,000, to house the Child Care Nutrition Center. Funds to build that center, primarily individual donations, were supplemented by the United States Agency for International Development. FCLH has taken a medical team to Lascahobas yearly since 1982, providing vision care and ophthalmologic surgery.
In February 1987, FCLH was incorporated in New York State and was recognized by Haiti as a Non-Governmental Organization that September. We established a skills-training program for local youth in July 1988. FCLH built a hospital that was certified by the Ministry of Public Health and Population of Haiti in 2000.
While in the more rural areas of Lascahobas in 2000, Ms. Dubuisson again saw the extreme deprivation that had prompted her to establish FCLH. To help mothers develop a reliable income, we began a Cooperative Economic Group Project. Each woman receives a sum of money to purchase goods for resale and uses her profits to feed and educate her children and continue her business. Today, 809 adults in 31 groups are supporting their 2,927 children through this project. Ten prior groups have become independent.
In the past FCLH paid for the children in the nutrition center to attend local schools. However in 2013, we decided to open a school for the destitute children who would not have been accepted in the other schools. We started with 40 children and now have 100.
After over 40 years of dedicating my life to improve the lives of the children of Lascahobas, Haiti, I have just completed my memoir to share with you my extraordinary journey with all of you who are inspired to assist and cherish the children of Haiti. It's entitled "My Love for the Children of Haiti and it's available at Amazon and Dorrance Publishing Company.