Serving the Most Vulnerable
NPH has been in Haiti for more than 35 years, addressing the social needs of the poorest of the poor, raising children in a loving environment, and creating future leaders. Following the twin disasters of 2010, the earthquake and cholera outbreak, our programs launched into high gear serving over 1 million people. The NPH programs are vast and include multiple homes for children, healthcare campuses, and various educational facilities in Port-au-Prince and Kenscoff, Haiti.
Haiti’s economy suffered a severe setback in January 2010, when a 7.0 magnitude earthquake destroyed much of its capital city, Port-au-Prince, and neighboring areas. Already the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, with 80% of the population living under the poverty line and 54% in abject poverty, the earthquake inflicted $7.8 billion in damages. Seven out of ten Haitians live on less than US$2 a day, according to the International Red Cross.
The country was hit by another serious 7.2 earthquake in August 2021 in the south of the country, which killed 2,200 Haiti and left over 12,000 injured. According to UNICEF, 800,000 people, 250,000 of them children, had been affected by the quake and in need of humanitarian aid. In the aftermath, NPH Haiti supported victims in the Les Cayes area of the country by rebuilding the homes of victims and delivering food and clothes.
In 1987, Father William Wasson founded Nos Petits Frères et Sœurs (NPFS), French for “Our Little Brothers and Sisters,” a home for at-risk and abandoned children in Kenscoff, Haiti. St. Helene is a lush and cool location about 25 miles up the mountain from the capital of Port-au-Prince. St. Helene is home to over 430 children and has an elementary and secondary school on the property, chapel, and other amenities. An additional 350 children from the Kenscoff community attend the onsite school which is operated by the Salesian Sisters. Kay Christine is located inside the St. Helene complex and is home to over 30 children and adults with neurological conditions and special needs.
In addition, NPH also operates:
- St. Damien Pediatric Hospital in Tabarre treating children up to 14 years of age.
- Kay St. Germaine, Kay Gabriel, and Kay Elaine are Rehabilitation Outpatient Centers providing therapy and educating children and adults with neurological disabilities.
- Father Wasson Angels of Light in Tabarre is a home and school for vulnerable and displaced children.
- Don Bosco is a higher education program in Tabarre for youths that graduated from St. Helene and are attending high school, university or technical schools.
NPH Haiti is led by Kenson Kaas, Dr.Pascale Gassant and Gena Heraty along with over 1,090 dedicated staff.
St. Damien Pediatric Hospital
In Tabarre, on the outskirts of Port-au-Prince, stands Haiti’s premier pediatric hospital, St. Damien, which is directed by Doctor Pascale Gassant. As part of NPH’s mission to truly serve the needs of the poorest children, Father Rick Frechette started our first medical center in 1987, along with Fr. Wasson. The new St. Damien Hospital was opened in 2006 – a 75,000 square foot, 100-bed facility with an emergency room, surgery, infectious and non-infectious disease wards, a dental clinic, outpatient clinic, public health, maternity, neonatology, oncology, and HIV program. Prior to the January 12, 2010 earthquake, the hospital treated more than 30,000 patients yearly which has increased to offering 96,000 services to women and children, due to the need and collapse of other medical centers.
The healthcare programs of NPH Haiti are motivated by the gospel command to care for the sick and strive to offset the injustices of poverty and unemployment which make healthcare inaccessible for many poor people. Poverty imposes a tremendous burden of sickness and suffering on many children. In an effort to help precisely these children, St. Damien offers both children of poverty, and children of any social level in emergent distress, quality, and dignified healthcare. St. Damien always seeks to include the parent participation in this care through ongoing dialogue, on-site opportunities for education, and encouraging any level of material support they can offer for the care of their children.
On January 12, 2010, the perimeter walls of the hospital fell during the earthquake. Patients fled the building for several days, fearing aftershocks. Miraculously, the hospital escaped major structural damage, and soon became a magnet for the critically wounded – children and adults.
St. Damien served as a hub for trauma care, treatment of quake-related injuries, and even maternity care – more than 50 babies were born at the hospital in the first three months after the earthquake. It also became one of the premier orthopedic medical centers within Haiti. In just the first three weeks after the earthquake, over 10,000 adults and children were treated and thousands of surgeries performed.
St. Kay Germaine, Kay Gabriel, and Kay Elaine Rehabilitation Outpatient Centers
In 2004, Gena Heraty, the Director of Kay Christine (home for special needs children at the St. Helene home), started with a team offering outpatient services to disabled children in the slum of Wharf Jeremy. The concept was not only to provide physical therapy but to support and educate the mothers with tools to care for their children. This outreach grew and was then relocated to the Father Wasson facility in Pétionville, which was destroyed in the 12 January, 2010 earthquake. The program, named Kay Eliane, was re-established in a facility in Pétionville with 400 children receiving therapy.
Adjacent to the St. Damien Pediatric Hospital in Tabarre, is Kay St. Germaine, a 2,300 sq. ft., rehabilitation, physiotherapy, and educational center that opened in September 2008. Kay Germaine offers children with neurological disabilities physical, occupational, and speech therapy, a school program for higher functioning patients including a free lunch and support, and micro-credit loan services to families in need.
Father Wasson Angels of Light
Under the NPH umbrella, the Father Wasson Angels of Light (FWAL) program founded the St. Anne Baby House and St. Louis Home. These homes have been a safe haven for the displaced children from Haiti’s devastating earthquake in 2010. Today, over 130 children under age 14 receive care, education, and spiritual formation in the loving tradition of “St. Helene,” our flagship facility in Kenscoff, Haiti. Many of the grown children of St. Helene now serve as caregivers and teachers to this new generation of NPH children.
St. Anne is currently home to 38 children under six years of age. A temporary home was rented until July of 2012 when the family moved into their newly constructed permanent residence in Tabarre. The St. Louis housing complex is home to over 100 children 6-14 years old. These children now live in a permanent housing complex with plans for administration buildings, a clinic, and a kitchen.
The FWAL free primary school serves the children of St. Anne, St. Louis, and 600 children living in tent cities and the surrounding community. FWAL was launched in 2010, soon after the earthquake due to the collapse of 3,000 schools in Port-au-Prince and the dire need for providing children safe places to play and learn. FWAL set up make-shift day camps and schools in 13 locations throughout the city. Food from the World Food Program supplemented by NPH, provided a free meal to all children enrolled in the program. A permanent site for the school was developed in 2011 and in January 2012, the FWAL primary school was inaugurated.
A specialty program of FWAL is Lakay se lakay (“Home Sweet Home”) which began in 2012. This is a social services initiative for children who have family members living in unsafe, unsanitary, and untenable situations. The aim of this program is to provide supervised case management support to one family at a time, helping them to create a sustainable existence through small business, relocation, and education. Our goal is that over time, this process will enable the St. Louis older youths to re-enter family life, thus reinforcing family and community and extending the scope and power of the proposed aid.
“I am so grateful to devote myself to helping these children receive the life that they deserve: health care, education, spiritual formation, and, most importantly, a community and family.”
– Kenson Kaas, National Director of Childcare, Hermano mayor
NPH Haiti empowers children, young people and families, especially in providing a quality education for the most vulnerable in the poorest and most precarious communities in the Port-au-Prince area. In 2020 alone, NPH had over 2,550 students enrolled in our schools, fulfilling their dreams, building a better future, and becoming agents of change in their communities. One of those schools is the FWAL (Father Wasson Angels of Light), created as a crisis response to the 2010 earthquake when “tent cities” formed by thousands of families and children after being made destitute.
In 2004, Gena Heraty, the Director of Kay Christine (home for special needs children at the St. Helene home), started with a team offering outpatient services to disabled children in the slum of Wharf Jeremy. The concept was not only to provide physical therapy, but to support and educate the mothers with tools to care for their children. This outreach grew and was then relocated to the Father Wasson facility in Pétionville, which was destroyed in the January 12, 2010 earthquake. The program, named Kay Eliane, was re-established in a facility in Pétionville with 140 children receiving weekly therapy and pre-school stimulation.
Adjacent to the St. Damien Pediatric Hospital in Tabarre, is Kay St. Germaine, a 2,300 sq. ft., rehabilitation, physiotherapy and educational center which opened in September, 2008. Kay Germaine offers children with neurological disabilities physical, occupational and speech therapy, a school program for higher functioning patients including a free lunch and support and micro credit loan services to families in need. Volunteer therapists work alongside the local staff to support and train them in providing services.
The healthcare programs of NPH Haiti are motivated by the gospel command to care for the sick and strive to offset the injustices of poverty and unemployment which make healthcare inaccessible for many poor people. Poverty imposes a tremendous burden of sickness and suffering on many children. In an effort to help precisely these children, St. Damien Pediatric Hospital offers both children of poverty, and children of any social level in emergent distress, quality and dignified healthcare. St. Damien always seeks to include the parent participation in this care through ongoing dialogue, on-site opportunities for education, and encouraging any level of material support they can offer for the care of their children.
NPH Haiti Timeline
In 1987 the St. Helene home in Kenscoff was opened
Breaking generational poverty begins with helping a child.
Some fifteen employees of Hôpital Saint-Damien came to the aid of patients through a blood drive...
I sit before a blank screen and will and woo words, hoping they will suddenly form and leap out...
Dear NPH Family, I am pleased to announce Dr. Pascale Yola Gassant Heurtelou as the new National...