LA MAISON DES ÉTUDIANTS
On March 30, 1999, Dr Jean Talleyrand near the end of his term as President of the CEC of AMHE signed anagreement with the Faculté de Médecine et de Pharmacie de l’Université d’Etat d’Haïti, an agreement that aimed at formalizing the relations between the two entities. One of the commitments taken by AMHE was to support the improvement of the conditions in which medical training is given. One of the short-term projects conceived in that context was to renovate La Maison des Étudiantsthat was seriously damaged by the mob at the fall of Duvalier’s regime and was occupied by the homeless. Renovation of the Maison des Étudiants was given the highest priority. Dr Evelyne Moise, then Director of Academic Affairs, was acutely aware that many of the 500 students were spending their school day without a hot lunch. Dr Yves Manigat who in July 1999 succeeded Dr Jean Talleyrand at the head of the Central Executive Committee accepted the challenge to help with de renovation of the Maison desÉtudiants. He asked Dr Fritz Apollon in March 2001 to chair and create a committee responsible for the fundraising of the $80,000.00 necessary to achieve the project. The committee raised $26,505.00. Dr Paul Nacier, then President of AMHENew York Chapter, organized in April 2001 in Long Island afundraising gala that contributed $20,000.00. Dr Reynold Ducasse, then President of AMHE Foundation used $33,495.00 of the treasury to complete the $80,000.00that were given to Dr Evelyne Moise known for her integrity, her selflessness and her dedication to the students’ well-being and who used every single penny of our donation for the completion of the project.
On February 22, 2002 a delegation composed of Drs. Yves Manigat, Jean Talleyrand, William Andrisse, RoosveltClérismé, Emmanuel Francois and Fritz Apollon were in Port-au-Prince for the inauguration of La Maison Des Étudiants (MDE). Back to the US the decision was made to send an annual subsidy to the MDE to keep the price of a hot lunch at G25.00 at the cafeteria. The exchange rate in 2002 was G38.00 for $1.00 and that first year about 70-100 meals were served to 70 students. By 2008 550-600 meals were served to 400-500 students still at the same price of G25.00 while the gourde was being devalued. The MDE Budget then was $81,771.00 a year with our annual subsidy being $15,000.00; the balance of this budget was met by a governmental allocation and the revenues made from the sale of the meals to the students. The MDE functioned superbly until the historic earthquake of January12, 2010 when the physical building was destroyed and the cafeteria staff was disbanded. We had to wait until 2013 to notice a full recovery with a budget of $142,976.00 where the AMHE $15,000.00 portion represented 9.77%, the students’ payments 19.28% and the Haitian government 70.94%. Five hundred students were served a hot meal Monday through Friday for still G25.00 during a period of 140 days. But in 2017 the budget fell precipitously to $ 18,791.00 because the new government stopped its underwriting. The AMHE’s $15,000.00 covered thus 73% of that budget.
The economic situation of the medical students has not changed and probably isworse than it was in 2002 when La Cafeteria des Étudiants started serving meals to them. The survival of the cafeteria seems to rest significantly now on AMHE annual contribution. The fundraising has become more and more difficult not only because of donors’ fatigue but because we have never had a significant number of donors. We never received more than seventy donations. Without a higher number AMHE will not be able to support the cafeteria and it will eventually close its doors.