Haiti Rehabilitation Foundation

Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy degree programs in Haiti at UNEPH


HRF Fall Newsletter

In this issue...

The Class of 2020 Enters!

The class of 2020 in the campus courtyard (left to right)
Back row: Stephyole, Bibiana, Nirva, Sainfolia, Bergedia
Front row: Sam Paul, Nicholson, Boaz, Emerson

The new class arrives and then the rain began...

The second class arrived, all smiles, at FSRL (Faculté des Sciences de Réhabilitation) to begin the four year program in rehab therapy at the health science campus in Léogâne of the Episcopal University of Haiti.

Shortly after their arrival the deluge of Hurricane Matthew began. (See Dean O'Flynn's first hand report below in this newsletter.) Both the students and the health sciences campus (which was built to withstand hurricanes and earthquakes) emerged from the storm in fine shape.

A letter from Jean Laurent, FSRL sophomore

I am Jean Laurent Michaud, a second year student at FSRL. I would like to tell you in a few words the reason that I chose physical therapy.

Since I was in High School, I have had a friend who lives in Miami named Wadson Michel. He is a psychologist, and one day during my next-to-last year, of high school he came back to help the people in Jacmel, in his part of Haiti.

That day I went with him. While we were walking in the town of Jacmel, I saw a boy of about six years of age. He had a deformation of his legs, so that he could not stand up straight. When I saw him, I asked Wadson if he could help him. He answered me, saying that he could not do anything for him, because this was not his field of expertise. When I continued asking questions about this case, he told me that only a therapist could help that boy. After that answer, I immediately proposed to my friend that he help me financially after my high school studies, because I knew that I was going to learn how to be a physical therapist, to help my country and to help the world, if God wills it. After the 12th of January, 2010, I had even more motivation to embrace these studies. The reason is that so many people who had lost their legs did not have the help of any therapists in this country. So I would like to do this work, in order to give everything I have to the advancement of health care in Haiti through this profession.

Thank you,
Jean Laurent

Living through Hurricane Matthew on the Léogâne campus

by Dean Janet O'Flynn

The week of October 2nd was quite a week for the campus in Léogâne. During the first part we all waited, in an eerie quiet, for what might be the biggest storm on campus (and the biggest I personally have experienced.) The Dean of the Nursing School, Hilda Alcindor, provided excellent leadership in preparing the campus.

On Tuesday, when the wind began truly to howl, and the rain to pour, it was like being in a train station for noise. It went on for hours and hours. Since no staff could travel to the campus, there were no classes and meals were at odd times as the students stepped in to help the cook. The fourth year guys took initiative to monitor the buildings for any danger spots. Their most dramatic intervention was to use a pickax to pound a hole at ground level in a wall of the courtyard (photo above), to let out pooling water which was threatening to spill over into the classrooms. It worked!

The power was out for 2½ days except for 2 to 4 hours of generator, when everyone scrambled to get devices charged up. There was no internet for 1½ days, meaning that we knew less about the disaster than anyone in the world who watched CNN for ten minutes!

When the wind died down people began to move around again, but the long slow steady rain went on for another 12 hours. On Wednesday, the rain began to taper off, I rallied the 4 FSRL students who live on campus and we had an anatomy class. It felt good to get back on track a little. It was a relief when, the next day, faculty members were finally able to arrive and classes were held for all students at the school.

Students who ventured off campus on Thursday brought back photos of people standing and walking in water, or standing on their little porch and water washing across the porch. The group that went out carried first aid supplies, but came back without having found or treated any injuries, thankfully. I finally left campus on Sunday, five days after the storm first hit, to walk about a mile across town to church. By then I saw dry streets, with piles and piles of branches and leaves, carefully cut into lengths and swept together. A lot of trees went down – and so the sun was a little brighter on my walk.

I think that for Haitians the relief of still being here, after the storm, is almost immediately followed by a sense of alarm about the next thing! Maybe that’s true in every part of the world, but here the calamities seem to roll along at a faster clip. So a practice of stopping to give thanks is a very timely discipline. In fact, it is part of everyday habit to say, when asked “how are you?”, “Fine, thanks to God!”

Jean Dornevil artwork sales to benefit HRF

Jean Dornevil, Haitian-American physical therapist and artist, has made a wonderful offer. From now until January 15, Jean will support the Haiti Rehabilitation Foundation by donating 10% of the purchase price of any of his beautiful paintings.

Just go to Jean's website, Haitian Art, and mention "HRF". While you are there, take a look at Jean's description of his excitement about the new programs for OT and PT at FSRL. An original painting by Jean Dornevil would make a wonderful Christmas gift for someone special...

Keep the FSRL Reality Growing Through Your Support

Donor support has made all the difference to the success of the new program at FSRL. We need your ongoing support to continue educating Haitians in rehabilitation therapy at the Episcopal University of Haiti.

Janis Handte
Haiti Rehabilitation Foundation

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Something good over the Léogâne campus.

THE HAITI REHAB FOUNDATION is a 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization. The mission of HRF is to support education for rehabilitation science professions in Haiti.

Donations to Haiti Rehab Foundation are fully tax deductible.

Donate by sending a check (made out to Haiti Rehabilitation Foundation) to this address:

Haiti Rehab Foundation
P.O. Box 183
Hamilton, NY 13346

You may also donate using your credit card by clicking using the button below.

Copyright © 2016 Haiti Rehabilitation Foundation, All rights reserved.

August IndieGoGo campaign

Meet our students in this inspiring video from our campus in Léogâne. 40 professors are volunteering in Haiti in the new academic year, but we need your help to send these aspiring therapists back to school!

$10,000 matching grant

Our summer fundraising campaign is underway. Pledges up to $10,000 will be matched dollar for dollar, thanks to a generous grant from the Shiller foundation! Donate now to double the power of your gift, and help send our students back to school.

HRF Summer Newsletter

Heart of the Tropics Event on March 12th Warms HRF Supporters in Manhattan

La Troupe Zetwal dancers radiate energy,

Jean Jean Roosevelt gives a stirring performance,

HRF board members are caught up in the joyful spirit of the event,

and the audience is bathed in cool light.

Highlights from the Heart of the Tropics Fundraiser, by Janet O'Flynn

All the ingredients for a Haitian fête were there. Calvary St. George's Church hosted the event in their chic venue, The Cave, on East 16th St. We enjoyed gorgeous Haitian art by Yolene Legrand. The food was provided by Fleurimond Catering, and the drinks featured Barbancourt in a rum punch. And the music was wonderful! A classical tenor, Isaacson Buteau, opened the evening with operatic arias. Haitian drummers and dancers from La Troupe Makandal and La Troupe Zetwal followed. The acoustic guitar and troubadour music of Jean Jean Roosevelt topped off the evening.

A personal highlight for me was my debut as an auctioneer, selling opportunities to fund the tires for our first van, or a box of dry-erase markers for the white board. My husband said I was channeling Carol Burnett — high praise! People laughed a lot, and they gave a lot too. Our master of ceremonies, Valerio, kept the evening moving smoothly and reminded us of our purpose, bringing excellent rehabilitation education to Haitian students who will change the lives of Haitian with disabilities.

The event brought together some of our staunchest supporters, who have been with us from the beginning, with many new supporters, especially from the Haitian communities in New York City. Almost all the members of the HRF Board were there from across the country, some meeting each other in person for the first time.

There was a spirit of excitement about the small but determined group of students who are already engaged in hard work in their classes, preparing to be the excellent occupational and physical therapists that Haiti needs. The students each addressed our guests via video. They described the path that brought them to FSRL and the hopes they have to improve access to rehabilitation in their beloved home country.

The event was a financial success, raising enough money to fund our expenses through the end of the academic year in Léogâne. The event was a social success, judging by the smiles, laughter, applause, and lively conversation. The event was a networking success as well, as the connections made during the evening continue to bear fruit in finding new supporters for HRF and FSRL.

We plan to warm up another cool spring night. Stay in touch! You'll want to be there!

A Letter from Pierre Roosvelt, a rising sophomore at FSRL

Pierre Louis P. Roosvelt

I am Pierre Louis P. Roosvelt, physical therapy technician, graduate of Loma Linda University. I have worked for three years in this field. As a technician, I am a little limited. That’s because it is forbidden for a technician to do the evaluations or the diagnoses, or even to have his own rehabilitation center. A technician is limited also even in the techniques that you can utilize for care which could be much more effective with the patients. Those are the reasons that I have come to FSRL to study the science of rehabilitation, to be able to acquire much more understanding. I want to build on the things which I have already learned, so that I can serve my country and particularly my own community.

Thank you,

HRF Represented at the Haiti Connection Conference by Janet O'Flynn

On April 6th to 8th, over one hundred Haitian and American partners met to share inspiration and to trade information concerning their projects with the Episcopal Diocese of Haiti. This conference, called the Haiti Connection, is hosted by the Children’s Medical Mission of Haiti (CMMH). It happens about every two or two-and-a-half years. CMMH is the long-standing foundation for St. Vincent’s Center for Handicapped Children, a place also dear to our hearts. All of the residents of St. Vincent’s were there for the festive banquet, as well as the handbell choir of adults who are blind.

St. Vincent's handbell choir

So many friends of HRF were there. One of the high points for me was to be able to join Nick Candee and Linda Brown, members of the Haiti Nursing Foundation board that supports the nursing school (FSIL), in presenting our programs together. Nick and Linda also work to support Hopital Ste. Croix, which is in Léogâne. Another high point was to meet some colleagues who are Episcopalians AND OTs as well! Gus and Sheelagh Schlegel were there from Sacred Heart University in Fairfield Connecticut, as was Holly Hartman, a former OT who is now a deacon in the Diocese of Massachusetts. The conference had some bittersweet moments. Bishop Duracin spoke of his plan to retire within the next three years. He gave a tribute to the now-retired Rev. Bill Squires, a US colleague with whom he “goes way back”. Bishop Duracin also looked forward in his speech, describing the plans to divide a very large diocese (the largest in population in the Episcopal church) into five smaller dioceses. The fact that the Diocese is busting out at the seams is very good news for the church in Haiti and in the US as well.

Our five students lead the procession on May 7 to celebrate a successful first year, donning their therapy uniforms for the first time.

Judith Straub, HRF Board Member, Recounts Her Visit to Léogâne in May

I returned recently from an amazing trip to Haiti. It is wonderful to report that the O'Flynns are in good spirits and working hard at FRSL. It was a privilege to meet the 5 students and participate in one of their classes. It is very hard to describe what life is like there. (Visiting the campus is the best way to experience what a beautiful thing is happening with supporter's encouragement and blessings.) Life is very simple, and the students study diligently, but they also have a good time. The singing and music making provide a lovely background to their hard work. They love to have an occasion to dress up for and do so as often as they can. The buildings and classrooms are plain but what goes on in them is very rich. I like the way the students easily and eagerly ask questions and are not afraid to correct their instructors' French. There are courtyards that provide a lavish and brilliantly colored visual feast a contrast and supplement to the simple indoor space.

Then there was the trip up the mountains to the north of Haiti with the 2 wheelchair bound women from St. Vincent's and their helper, who was blind in one eye and has poor vision in the other. They were so happy and excited to make this trip. Their wheelchairs rode on top of the van. Janet, her daughter, Chase, and I were the seat belts and physical supports for them as the van rolled up steep hills and around dangerous curves on a very bumpy road (when there was a road). Donnel helped the women get into the van and with getting their wheelchairs up and down from the top of the van, not easy tasks. Did the trip take 6 hours or 12 hours? It felt like 106 at least, and yet there were breathtaking views and high spirits and car sickness. These fantastic women made it all the way to the top of the mountain where the Citadelle is grandly placed. They had lots of help from the local guides who with Haitian ingenuity figured out how to get them up the cobblestoned path in their wheelchairs and then up the stone stairs in the Citadelle itself.

With gratitude for this wonderful adventure,
Judith Straub

P.S. For more information about these events, and for many photos, please go to haitiotptdegrees.wordpress.com to read the O'Flynns' blog.

Keep the FSRL Reality Growing Through Your Support

Donor support has made all the difference to the success of the new program at FSRL. We need your ongoing support to continue educating Haitians in rehabilitation therapy at the Episcopal University of Haiti.

Janis Handte
Haiti Rehabilitation Foundation

The campus in Léogâne nurtures an entirely different creature.

Haiti accepted into WFOT

Great news! Haiti has been accepted as a FULL MEMBER of the World Federation of Occupational Therapy! That means that the OT association has been approved, Constitution and all, AND that Haiti has an educational program in OT, with an approved curriculum, and that's our FSRL!

This is a banner day for connecting the therapists in Haiti with the wider world, with an equal Voice and Vote! Congrats to the president of AHE/HAOT, Autumn Marshall, and the WFOT Delegate, Consuelo Alzamora!

Haiti Rehabilitation Foundation, Winter/Spring 2016 Newsletter

Heart of the Tropics Fundraiser in NYC, on March 12, 2016

Experience the art, music, dance, and food of Haiti right in NYC at our spectacular event! Purchase tickets at www.HeartOfTheTropics.BrownPaperTickets.com. by clicking on the "Purchase Fundraiser Tickets" button (below).

Call 1-800-838-3006
for ticket sales

Featuring music by Jean Jean Roosevelt, drumming by La Troupe Makandal, dance by La Troupe Zetwal, music by Isaacson Buteau and art by Yolene Legrand

A Letter from Amendocia, a 1st year OT/PT student

Amendocia with her family on Parents' Day

shown here (2nd from right) with her family on Parents' Day

Dear Sponsors, Partners, and Supporters of FSRL,

I greet you very warmly. My name is Amendocia. I am a 26 year old woman. My home is now in the dormitory at FSRL in Léogâne, but I am from the town of La Plaine Cul-de-Sac. There are seven people in my family. I am the first person in my family who has had the opportunity for education on the university level.

I remember that after the earthquake of January 12, 2010, I had a cousin, a young woman, who was fractured at the hip. I was alone in that moment. I used my own intelligence, and did what I could in my own way, but I did not really know how to restore a broken person because I had not taken prior therapy courses.

Despite all this, I was able to do something and now my cousin is alive and healthy. I wanted to help many other people on that day but I did not have the capacity and knowledge of this profession of therapy. That is why I want to be a competent therapist, because there are many patients who need it! These are people who believe in us for aid. They give us their trust, as they hope to continue to struggle to live.

I am proud to represent this profession and this great university. Thank you for the opportunity that you are giving me today to study therapy.

The blessing of the living God be with you,


Nous Sommes les Agents du Changement

Students in the OT/PT program at FSRL hold a banner reading “Nous sommes les agents du changement”

The students of the OT/PT program in Léogâne, FSRL, have designed the official banner for the OT/PT program. The banner reads “Nous sommes les agents du changement”, meaning “we are the agents of change.” The banner recently accompanied the students in an academic procession at the Episcopal University of Haiti in Port-au-Prince on February 5th.

Meet the Newest HRF Board Members

Dr. Monique Germain, EdD

Dr. Monique Germain, EdD

has served as the Department Chair of Nursing at Chicago State University, where she is now Assistant Professor. Dr. Germain is originally from Haiti and she completed her first BA degree there in liberal arts. Her graduate education, in the U.S., has been in nursing, public health, international health, and adult higher education. Dr. Germain has international interests and experience in Ghana, South Africa, and Haiti.

Dr. Germain has been closely connected with the nursing program, FSIL, at the Episcopal University of Haiti for a long time. She served a term as Chair of the FSIL governing board, which provides academic oversight to FSIL. Currently she is a member of that FSIL board, as well as the Haiti Nursing Foundation (HNF) board. Dr. Germain was nominated by the HNF board to join us on the Haiti Rehabilitation Foundation board, to serve as a liaison between the two closely connected programs. Dr. Germain in turn nominated her colleague, Dr. Joseph Balogun, as a possible new member for HRT, to represent the field of Physical Therapy.

Dr. Joseph Balogun, PT, PhD

Dr. Joseph Balogun, PT, PhD

has served as Dean of the College of Health Sciences at Chicago State University, where he is now Distinguished University Professor of the same College. Dr. Balogun is originally from Nigeria, and he completed his Bachelor of Science degree there in physical therapy. His graduate education, in the U.S, has been in Physical Therapy and Exercise Physiology, especially in Cardiac Rehabilitation. He has published extensively in his professional specialty as well as in the field of higher education administration, particularly as it applies to interdisciplinary collaboration between nurses, OTs, and PTs. He has a strong record of obtaining and managing grants for research in public health, as well as scholarships for disadvantaged students. Dr. Balogun gained his international professional experience in South Africa, Saudi Arabia, and Nigeria. Dr. Balogun has an interest in building capacity in under-resourced countries by establishing excellent professional education in nursing, occupational therapy, and physical therapy.

Keep the FSRL Reality Growing Through Your Support

Donor support has been magnificent. We need your ongoing support to continue educating Haitians in rehabilitation therapy at the Episcopal University of Haiti.

We hope to see you at the fundraiser on March 12th in New York City. The event is shaping up to be a joyous celebration of Haitian culture in music, dance, art work, and food!



Janis Handte
Haiti Rehabilitation Foundation

See newer posts: 2018, 2017 | See older posts: 2015, 2014

Donate Now by Credit or Debit Card


  • $100 — support a class for one student

  • $250 — pay tuition for a student for one month

  • $1000 — cover the costs of a visiting faculty member

  • $4000 — pay all expenses (tuition, room and board, uniforms, books and fees) for one student for one year


Monthly Gift

Mail a Check

Donations can be made by check to "Haiti Rehabilitation Foundation" and mailed to:

Janis Handte, Treasurer
P.O. box 183
Hamilton, NY, 13346

Haiti Rehabilitation Foundation is a 501c3 nonprofit organization. Donations are tax-deductible.