Andrew Meade, Founder and Co-Chair

“Participating with the Vassar Haiti Project is in so many ways a dream come true.”

 “Living and attending school in Haiti in the 1970’s gave me the opportunity to get to know the land, the people, and their glorious art. Despite the poverty, the political turmoil, the environmental devastation, and lack for years of any kind of governmental infrastructure, the dignity and spirit of the Haitian people remains powerfully strong, vibrant and free. It is this vibrant spirit which translates so colorfully and creatively into art, which is one of that country’s few remaining viable exports.”

“I consider it a privilege to be engaged in this work. One of the greatest thrills has been the great and growing numbers of people, including dozens of Vassar students, faculty, staff, and administrators, and folks from the Hudson Valley and beyond, who have requested the opportunity to participate either as a member or a partner of this project.”

Andrew Meade is the Director of International Services at Vassar College.


Lila MEADE, FOUNDER AND CO-CHAIR

“Over six years ago, my husband, Andrew had a ‘little idea’ of supporting a school in Haiti which he took to the Dean of the College.   This seed has blossomed into the Vassar Haiti Project, supporting nutrition, education and art in Haiti. By buying the artwork from Haiti, which gives budding artists the chance of a livelihood, a small committee started an art sale at Vassar which has blossomed into a family and partnership with students and community members. Vassar students have reached out way beyond the walls of the college (and themselves!) towards making a ‘concrete’ difference to the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. What a joy and privilege it is to work with them, especially as they keep pushing the project towards new levels!” 

“What was planted years ago has now become a virtual forest! I have grown to love Haiti through its incredible art, culture and spirit. This project has taught me much about what is truly rich in life. I dedicate my work in this project to my mother, Lily, who spent her early childhood in Haiti and who taught me how to love, respect and care for the children of the world.”

 


CARYN HALLE, Chair, Community advisory board

The Vassar Haiti Project has been a huge part of my life and that of my family since almost the beginning of the project when it was a bunch of friends and a few students looking for a way to make a difference in the lives of this remote village in Haiti through art and handcraft sales. Journeys to “Ayiti” with the project have provided me the opportunity to witness the beauty and inspiration of the land that has been illustrated so vividly and uniquely by each of our artists, as well as to see first hand just how the project has made a difference in the lives of the people in our village. In the last few years in particular, I have also come to realize that it is not just the future of Chermaitre and of Haiti but also of the students at Vassar and of the community at large which is being so positively impacted by this project. Watching our students develop strong leadership skills, as they conceive of initiatives, plan their implementation and become incredible human beings and citizens of the world, ready to tackle 21st century problems with confidence and grace, has been a real privilege. I am so grateful to be part of a project that continues to grow and expand and attract an incredibly capable cadre of students and community members who will push the project to new levels of outreach and action!