The Vassar Haiti Project thrives on the energy and diversity of our partners in Chermaitre and Haiti, as well as our members, who come from all corners of the Vassar community. From Haitians to students and faculty to administrators, alumni, and our members in the Poughkeepsie area and beyond, the Vassar Haiti Project brings together individuals from a multitude of backgrounds. 

Our student members hail from countries across the globe: Nigeria to Vietnam to Haiti itself.

PAARUL SINHA, CO-PRESIDENT OF FUNDRAISING & DEVELOPMENT, CLASS OF 2017 Gravitated to the energy and compassion this organization exuberates, I’ve considered myself as an active member of Vassar Haiti Project since the start of my Vassar career! During my first year of VHP, I was a Health Initiative and Outreach Committee member. I worked on generating new ideas for how to improve the clinic in Chermaitre while simultaneously interacting and networking with local community members. Come March, I was fortunate enough to actually travel to Haiti and see the direct results of VHP’s work and efforts. Being able to witness the concrete partnership we’ve been able to establish the people of Chermaitre was truly a transformative and inspirational experience for me. Since then, VHP has seeped into my personal life and greatly impacted my intended career path, which will potentially combine medicine and public health. VHP has also given me a new perspective with which I now view issues such as global health and the the role of sustainability in nonprofit organizations. I’m so grateful to have the opportunity to be a part of this organization, and after dedicating a year to Vassar Haiti Project, I can genuinely say that I look forward to dedicating many, many more!  

PAARUL SINHACO-PRESIDENT OF FUNDRAISING & DEVELOPMENT, CLASS OF 2017

Gravitated to the energy and compassion this organization exuberates, I’ve considered myself as an active member of Vassar Haiti Project since the start of my Vassar career! During my first year of VHP, I was a Health Initiative and Outreach Committee member. I worked on generating new ideas for how to improve the clinic in Chermaitre while simultaneously interacting and networking with local community members.

Come March, I was fortunate enough to actually travel to Haiti and see the direct results of VHP’s work and efforts. Being able to witness the concrete partnership we’ve been able to establish the people of Chermaitre was truly a transformative and inspirational experience for me.

Since then, VHP has seeped into my personal life and greatly impacted my intended career path, which will potentially combine medicine and public health. VHP has also given me a new perspective with which I now view issues such as global health and the the role of sustainability in nonprofit organizations. I’m so grateful to have the opportunity to be a part of this organization, and after dedicating a year to Vassar Haiti Project, I can genuinely say that I look forward to dedicating many, many more!

 

KIDUS GIRMA, CO-PRESIDENT OF FUNDRAISING AND DEVELOPMENT, CLASS OF 2018 Hi! My name is Kidus and this will be my third year in the Vassar Haiti Project (VHP). I honestly cannot believe it has been this many years already, and I am deeply excited for the coming year. I joined VHP during my Freshman year through the Education Initiative and I've had the chance to grow in so many ways! I think I enjoy it so much because it has given me the opportunity to truly do something. Very rarely are college students given the chance to play such a rewarding and important role in a non-profit. VHP gave me the freedom to think of something and “own it.” I believe this space coupled with the guidance of Lila and Andrew allows us the most fruitful partnership with the people of Chermaitre. I'm excited and hopeful to see what we can achieve in the future and look forward to transitioning from CO-VP of Events to my new role as Co-President for Fundraising and Development.     

KIDUS GIRMACO-PRESIDENT OF FUNDRAISING AND DEVELOPMENT, CLASS OF 2018

Hi! My name is Kidus and this will be my third year in the Vassar Haiti Project (VHP). I honestly cannot believe it has been this many years already, and I am deeply excited for the coming year. I joined VHP during my Freshman year through the Education Initiative and I've had the chance to grow in so many ways! I think I enjoy it so much because it has given me the opportunity to truly do something. Very rarely are college students given the chance to play such a rewarding and important role in a non-profit. VHP gave me the freedom to think of something and “own it.” I believe this space coupled with the guidance of Lila and Andrew allows us the most fruitful partnership with the people of Chermaitre. I'm excited and hopeful to see what we can achieve in the future and look forward to transitioning from CO-VP of Events to my new role as Co-President for Fundraising and Development. 

 

 

ZOE WALKER, CO-PRESIDENT OF HAITI OPERATIONS, CLASS OF 2017

Hi! My name is Zoe, I'm from Seattle, WA and I am going to graduate in 2017 with a double major in Psychology and International Studies (concentrations in Political Science and Education) and a minor in Spanish. I joined VHP my freshman year and still remember my first big event, Haiti Cherie, an art sale in New York City. There is something special about VHP, energy, passion and love, radiates from meetings and fun times with my peers, Andrew and Lila. I knew that I had to get more involved. This past March I had the privilege of being able to travel to Haiti with a group of 13 other trippers. I got to see paintings that I had helped stretch at stretching parties come to life with the vibrant landscapes as we travelled from Port-au-Prince to Chermaitre. I made unforgettable connections with so many wonderful people we spent time with - we miss you Pere Wildaine! During my time in Haiti everything about VHP really began to make sense, it was as though all the puzzle pieces fell in place and I gained a fuller understanding of the project. I am now even more determined to accomplish our goals and push ourselves to be the best we can be in order to further all of our initiatives. I absolutely loved having the chance to serve as Education Director for a few short months and am thrilled to be  Co-President of Haiti Operations this coming year! 

 

Shiqi Lin, Co-PRESIDENT OF HAITI OPERATIONS, CLASS OF 2017

One thing I appreciate most about VHP is everyone, regardless of our identity and diverse interests, is always cordially invited to the heart of VHP. Over the past three years, I have been fortunate enough to be part of this family and involve myself in sustaining this precious space of belonging. We grow up with VHP. In this hospitable space, we are encouraged to support each other, to take upon responsibility, to reflect collectively upon the impasses of international development and to engage ourselves in a serious nonprofit cause. This year as Co-President of Haiti Operations, I am excited to engage in the learning of Haiti with all members in VHP, promote cross-initiative collaboration and work on to build strong ties between members of VHP, community members and partners of Chermaitre.

 


 

melanie lai wai, post-baccalaureate fellow, CLASS OF 2016     I graduated from Vassar College in 2016 and started my job as a post-baccalaureate fellow in August 2016. VHP first attracted me because of the connection between Haitian Creole and Mauritian Creole, the lingua-franca of the island of Mauritius where I am from. This interest evolved over time as I discovered the richness of Haitian art and culture through our merchandise. Last March, I finally got to visit Chermaitre. It was a riveting experience not only to witness first-hand the results of our work there, but also to meet our partners in Haiti. As I continue my journey with VHP, I am always inspired by the resilience, courage, and positivity of the people of Chermaitre.   

melanie lai wai, post-baccalaureate fellow, CLASS OF 2016    

I graduated from Vassar College in 2016 and started my job as a post-baccalaureate fellow in August 2016. VHP first attracted me because of the connection between Haitian Creole and Mauritian Creole, the lingua-franca of the island of Mauritius where I am from. This interest evolved over time as I discovered the richness of Haitian art and culture through our merchandise. Last March, I finally got to visit Chermaitre. It was a riveting experience not only to witness first-hand the results of our work there, but also to meet our partners in Haiti. As I continue my journey with VHP, I am always inspired by the resilience, courage, and positivity of the people of Chermaitre. 

 


HAITI OPERATIONS


Alex ng, EDUCATION INITIATIVE DIRECTOR, Class of 2019 Hi!  My name is Alex, and I am a sophomore from Connecticut.  During my admitted students day before freshman year, my mom and I wandered into a VHP art sale, and I was immediately captivated by the vibrant individuals and art of VHP.  A year later, I was fortunate enough to visit Haiti and be transformed by the the surreal beauty of the mountains, the lively atmosphere of the markets, and the unwavering strength of Chermaitre’s people.  I think about the people we met and the scenes we saw everyday.  The extreme euphoria (and tears) when we finally reached the clinic in Fervil and the overwhelming pride when we saw the schoolchildren playing in Chermaitre will never be extinguished.  I am so grateful to learn from the inspiring, passionate, and hard-working individuals in VHP everyday, and I’m so excited for this year!  

Alex ng, EDUCATION INITIATIVE DIRECTOR, Class of 2019

Hi!  My name is Alex, and I am a sophomore from Connecticut.  During my admitted students day before freshman year, my mom and I wandered into a VHP art sale, and I was immediately captivated by the vibrant individuals and art of VHP.  A year later, I was fortunate enough to visit Haiti and be transformed by the the surreal beauty of the mountains, the lively atmosphere of the markets, and the unwavering strength of Chermaitre’s people.  I think about the people we met and the scenes we saw everyday.  The extreme euphoria (and tears) when we finally reached the clinic in Fervil and the overwhelming pride when we saw the schoolchildren playing in Chermaitre will never be extinguished.  I am so grateful to learn from the inspiring, passionate, and hard-working individuals in VHP everyday, and I’m so excited for this year!

 

anna roselle, CO-DIRECTOR OF environmental (Reforestation) INITIATIVE, CLASS OF 2018 I am a Junior Neuroscience and Behavior major at Vassar College. I have been a part of VHP since my freshman year as a general body member in the Health Initiative. Starting my third year I will be directing the Environmental, Reforestation Initiative. Since I was young I have wanted to help others and have always found that nature plays a large role in both our physical and emotional health. Having the chance to integrate my passion for healthcare and the environment through one organization is truly amazing. After joining VHP I have seen how a small group of people, if they set their minds to something, can achieve great outcomes. I cannot wait to work alongside the dedicated students and professionals of VHP and bring more great changes to Chermaitre this year!

anna roselleCO-DIRECTOR OF environmental (Reforestation) INITIATIVE, CLASS OF 2018

I am a Junior Neuroscience and Behavior major at Vassar College. I have been a part of VHP since my freshman year as a general body member in the Health Initiative. Starting my third year I will be directing the Environmental, Reforestation Initiative. Since I was young I have wanted to help others and have always found that nature plays a large role in both our physical and emotional health. Having the chance to integrate my passion for healthcare and the environment through one organization is truly amazing. After joining VHP I have seen how a small group of people, if they set their minds to something, can achieve great outcomes. I cannot wait to work alongside the dedicated students and professionals of VHP and bring more great changes to Chermaitre this year!

CLAIRIOLA ETIENNE, HEALTH INITIATIVE DIRECTOR, CLASS OF 2018 I have been involved in VHP since the beginning of my college life. Being a Haitian makes my VHP experience more personal and meaningful. I am really thankful that I have the chance to give back to my own country and learn to share my love and passion with other VHPers, people in Chermaitre and also everybody around me. Going back to Haiti with VHP in March 2015 was the most incredible part of my freshman year at Vassar. The humbleness, warmth and hospitality of the people in Chermaitre truly amazed me.The day at the clinic is my highlight of the whole trip. I am really excited to be the Director of Health Initiative next year, as I am so eager to work with the doctor and the nurse of our clinic, and try my best to help the people in Chermaitre.  

CLAIRIOLA ETIENNEHEALTH INITIATIVE DIRECTOR, CLASS OF 2018

I have been involved in VHP since the beginning of my college life. Being a Haitian makes my VHP experience more personal and meaningful. I am really thankful that I have the chance to give back to my own country and learn to share my love and passion with other VHPers, people in Chermaitre and also everybody around me. Going back to Haiti with VHP in March 2015 was the most incredible part of my freshman year at Vassar. The humbleness, warmth and hospitality of the people in Chermaitre truly amazed me.The day at the clinic is my highlight of the whole trip. I am really excited to be the Director of Health Initiative next year, as I am so eager to work with the doctor and the nurse of our clinic, and try my best to help the people in Chermaitre.

 

Hao Wu, CO-Director of Environmental(water) initiative, CLASS OF 2018 I joined VHP in the beginning of spring semester and I became a member of the Water and Reforestation Initiative. For me,  it’s very important to get the idea that we can actually contribute to someone else’s lives even as a student. I’m always impressed by how much we can do as a group and I feel grateful to work with all these enthusiastic VHPers as a part of my college experience.

Hao WuCO-Director of Environmental(water) initiative, CLASS OF 2018

I joined VHP in the beginning of spring semester and I became a member of the Water and Reforestation Initiative. For me,  it’s very important to get the idea that we can actually contribute to someone else’s lives even as a student. I’m always impressed by how much we can do as a group and I feel grateful to work with all these enthusiastic VHPers as a part of my college experience.

Amaesha durazi, DIRECTOR OF women's initiative, CLASS OF 2019 Hi! My name is Amaesha and I'm a sophomore from India. As an excited freshman, I browsed the various student organizations at Vassar and was immediately captivated by VHP before I even started my college career. My interest in art and social work is what drew me to this wonderful club but I soon realized that VHP is much more. I was honored to be a part of the March trip to Haiti. Visiting the vibrant street markets and talking to talented and heartfelt artists like Benoit and Georges Desarmes gave the paintings I'd been stretching for art sales a new, deeper meaning. The people we interacted with and the places we visited left permanent marks on our hearts. This year, I am the Director of the Women's Initiative. In partnership with the strong and passionate Women's Cooperative in Chermaitre and my fellow VHP-ers, I hope to facilitate significant change and progress.

Amaesha duraziDIRECTOR OF women's initiative, CLASS OF 2019

Hi! My name is Amaesha and I'm a sophomore from India. As an excited freshman, I browsed the various student organizations at Vassar and was immediately captivated by VHP before I even started my college career. My interest in art and social work is what drew me to this wonderful club but I soon realized that VHP is much more. I was honored to be a part of the March trip to Haiti. Visiting the vibrant street markets and talking to talented and heartfelt artists like Benoit and Georges Desarmes gave the paintings I'd been stretching for art sales a new, deeper meaning. The people we interacted with and the places we visited left permanent marks on our hearts. This year, I am the Director of the Women's Initiative. In partnership with the strong and passionate Women's Cooperative in Chermaitre and my fellow VHP-ers, I hope to facilitate significant change and progress.


FUNDRAISING & DEVELOPMENT


kate ma, Treasurer & Print Media manager, CLASS OF 2018 Few non-profits emphasize student participation and empowerment in the way VHP does.  I joined VHP at the start of my sophomore year, and every day since, I have been impressed and inspired by the incredible individuals who make up this organization.  Each person brings an open heart and brand new perspective to the project, helping to create not just a family, but an entire community striving to make change.  VHP allows each of us to explore what we are passionate about, and for me, this means a space in which I can express my love for art and design.  The lessons taught by VHP are ones that cannot be learned within the walls of a classroom, and I have already learned so much about what truly exists in the realm of possibilities.  Last year I served as the Co-Director of Grants, and this year, I have the privilege of being VHP’s Treasurer and Co-Director of Publicity. My plan is to bring strong organization to VHP’s finances, as well as create engaging print media designs. I am honored to have the opportunity to grow alongside VHP and its members, and I hope that my experiences can inspire future members to challenge themselves and enact change in the world, no matter how small.     Currently, I am a Psychology and Economics major, and am from Orlando/Seattle/Shanghai.  

kate ma, Treasurer & Print Media manager, CLASS OF 2018


Few non-profits emphasize student participation and empowerment in the way VHP does.  I joined VHP at the start of my sophomore year, and every day since, I have been impressed and inspired by the incredible individuals who make up this organization.  Each person brings an open heart and brand new perspective to the project, helping to create not just a family, but an entire community striving to make change.  VHP allows each of us to explore what we are passionate about, and for me, this means a space in which I can express my love for art and design.  The lessons taught by VHP are ones that cannot be learned within the walls of a classroom, and I have already learned so much about what truly exists in the realm of possibilities.  Last year I served as the Co-Director of Grants, and this year, I have the privilege of being VHP’s Treasurer and Co-Director of Publicity. My plan is to bring strong organization to VHP’s finances, as well as create engaging print media designs. I am honored to have the opportunity to grow alongside VHP and its members, and I hope that my experiences can inspire future members to challenge themselves and enact change in the world, no matter how small.  
 

Currently, I am a Psychology and Economics major, and am from Orlando/Seattle/Shanghai.
 

SERENA LEE, Co-vice president of events, CLASS OF 2018 I was "roped in" Vassar Haiti Project after I hear about the Health Initiative from a friend. Ever since, I've been actively attending those meetings and soon enough running around at art sales with the rest of the VHPers. This past school year 2015-2016 I served as the Women's Health Coordinator. I worked with the Director of the Health Initiative to lead discussions on how to better serve the women in Chermaitre and established connections with many health professionals for the improvement of our clinic. I also was able to go to Haiti in March 2016 and met the incredible Haitian people also working hard to continue the project and serve the villagers. Spring 2017 I will take on the role of VP of Internal Events. I plan to work with a committee to plan and execute events on Vassar's campus. Some of the events I hope to work on include Art and Soul (annual fundraising event for the medical community of the greater Hudson valley), student fundraisers such as Munchy Monday, and awareness events partnering with each of the Haiti Operations initiatives to engage students and the community in learning about and participating in the partnership with Haiti. I am forever grateful for what this project teaches me and I hope I can do my best to give back this upcoming year!

SERENA LEE, Co-vice president of events, CLASS OF 2018

I was "roped in" Vassar Haiti Project after I hear about the Health Initiative from a friend. Ever since, I've been actively attending those meetings and soon enough running around at art sales with the rest of the VHPers. This past school year 2015-2016 I served as the Women's Health Coordinator. I worked with the Director of the Health Initiative to lead discussions on how to better serve the women in Chermaitre and established connections with many health professionals for the improvement of our clinic. I also was able to go to Haiti in March 2016 and met the incredible Haitian people also working hard to continue the project and serve the villagers.

Spring 2017 I will take on the role of VP of Internal Events. I plan to work with a committee to plan and execute events on Vassar's campus. Some of the events I hope to work on include Art and Soul (annual fundraising event for the medical community of the greater Hudson valley), student fundraisers such as Munchy Monday, and awareness events partnering with each of the Haiti Operations initiatives to engage students and the community in learning about and participating in the partnership with Haiti. I am forever grateful for what this project teaches me and I hope I can do my best to give back this upcoming year!

Melanie DSC00809.jpg

DANIEL ELENDU, HANDCRAFTS MANAGER, CLASS OF 2019

Learn, share, engage, do, learn again (and then cycle continues). This has the VHP experience for me. I am an international student from Nigeria and I joined VHP in the first semester of my freshman year after its introduction to international students by Andrew. I was drawn to it because it had a cause, a cause that students could commit to and be a part of. 
I got involved in the Merchandise Initiative and being a lover of art  myself, I got to explore and appreciate the different artworks and the handcrafts materials which were used to raise funds to support the people of Chermaitre, Haiti. It is a gift to be part of a family that is motivated, humble, innovative and dedicated to making life better in a region that is unfamiliar to a lot of people. VHP has provided a space for students like myself to learn and gain new perspectives on a lot of things, to interact and socialize, to tackle challenges and grow as an individual. 
I have enjoyed the Art Sales, I have enjoyed the Stretching parties, I have enjoyed the discussions and planning and projects, and I have enjoyed the love and warmth in this community. I look forward to a better year where I can learn more, do more and make meaningful impact personally, and as a part of this family because right now, I am a part of this project and this project is a part of me. 

   

MAYNIE YANG, SOCIAL MEDIA DIRECTOR, CLASS OF 2019

This is my first time participating in an non-profit organisation. VHP attracted me with vibrant colours. The paintings of Haitian artists, animals, tropical forests, fields, hardworking people...they constitute a homy atmosphere, culture that is welcoming and pleasant. I feel affected by the warm vibe. As social media director, I hope to share that feeling among the general public.

 

RUOYU LI, CO-VICE PRESIDENT OF EVENTS, CLASS OF 2019

I joined the Vassar Haiti Project two years ago during freshmen orientation. Since then, VHP has been a significant part of my Vassar life. Freshman year, I was a member of the Education and Merchandise Committees, and then I joined VHP’s executive board as the web sale manager for Merch. Sophomore year, I contribute to VHP as the co-vice president of Events Committee. We mainly work on organizing on and off campus art sales, reaching out to potential partners and giving presentations to introduce VHP to more people.

March of my freshman year, I went to Haiti with a group of VHP members. The trip was an incredible experience that connected me with our friends in Haiti, and linked my previous experience in VHP with real changes that happened and were happening in Chermaitre.

VHP is a space for learning, thinking, doing and connecting. It gives me new and critical perspectives to think about the meaning of nonprofit organization and global connections. I also see how small deeds could lead to big changes. I am fortunate and grateful to have the chance to be a part of this loving and energetic community/family.

Anna IMG_20150730_195748.png

ANNA MAN, VICE PRESIDENT OF MERCHANDISE, CLASS OF 2018

When I was still a freshman looking for activities to join, I was immediately drawn to the friendly, enthusiastic atmosphere VHP creates. Over the past, I had been involved in the merchandise and health committees through various research projects and events. I am so glad that it is a part of my college experience.

VHP is such a distinguished organization made up of the warmest people you will ever find. It truly embodies the core values of passion, openness, and genuineness I seek in my work. It aspires me to push my limits and be more than who I seem to be. I am looking forward to an exciting new year with VHP!