In 1977, Dr. and Mrs. Gardner Landers of El Dorado, Arkansas heard about the desperate medical needs of the
Haitian people. They volunteered to help and eventually developed a routine of making two trips a year to the
impoverished island. Together with their surgical team, they provided sight-renewing surgery and eyeglasses to
thousands of people.
Then one day in 1981, Frances Landers overheard Father Jean-Wilfrid Albert, Haitian chaplain
at the Presbyterian-Episcopal Sainte Croix Hospital in Léogane, reluctantly tell a heartbroken child that there
was no room for her in the mission school. That incident inspired Mrs. Landers to do something to ensure that
the priest could say yes to children asking for a chance to learn.
Armed with photos of several hopeful children,
Mrs. Landers returned to El Dorado and raised enough money through her church, her family, and her friends
to build and operate an 8-room school at Mercery village and to set up 3 small schools in nearby mountain communities.
From one person's effort and one small school in 1981, the Haiti Education Foundation has grown to involve
churches and individuals in states from Florida to Oregon. Over 12,040 children and young adults are enrolled
in the 34 elementary schools, 7 high schools, and vocational school scattered among the mountains of Haiti's
Pere Desire of St. Matthias Parish and Pere Vil of Ascension Parish provide guidance and leadership
for the schools. They tirelessly serve and encourage the parishioners and students in their respective parishes.
The work of the Haiti Education Foundation is further enhanced by the OCDES Board, a group of men who volunteer
their services in the areas of administration and construction. This board was mentored and activated by Pere
Albert prior to his death in 2005.
RAYS OF LIGHT
At the beginning of each school year, eager children wait expectantly to be granted the opportunity to enroll
in one of our schools. these children know that education is the avenue leading out of the darkness of illiteracy
and poverty into the light of life in Jesus Christ. One child attending school can bring education to all the
members of a family. In this way, one $55 scholarship is multiplied, enabling other family members the opportunity
to learn to ready and write. From one small light, many rays shine forth.
Letter following 2011 HUG Conference
Dear Friends of HEF,
The HEF Conference held at Ferncliff in Pulaski County, Arkansas on October 7 – 9, 2011, was a great success. There were attendees present from across the entire United States who joined with the HEF Board members in productive meetings and times of worship led by our fine Haitian Parish Priests Father Vil and Father Desire’.
We welcome to our HEF Board two new members, Rev. Cathy Ulrich of Fort Smith, Arkansas and Seth Lovell of Charlottesville, Virginia. HEF is fortunate to have these talented and dedicated people as new additions to our board.
Our priests report that the school year is underway at all of our schools. Our students are continuing to learn and experience a quality life that would be impossible without HEF.
We are making a concerted effort to provide our teachers with salaries that are adequate. HEF is also seeking churches or other organizations as partners and sponsors of individual schools. Our ultimate goal is to repair or replace the schools damaged in the 2010 earthquake and to support feeding programs in all HEF schools as we continue to provide an education experience that will be life changing for some 11,000 children.
We thank you for your continued support for the children of Haiti’s mountains.
Mike Landers, President
The mission of the Haiti Foundation, Inc., is to provide an education to the children in St.
Matthias and Ascension Parishes in the southern mountains of Haiti.
STATEMENT OF OUR VISION
The Haiti Education Foundation (HEF), in our alliance with the Episcopal Church of Haiti, strives to provide educational opportunities to the people of the southern mountains of Haiti . We continue to build on the vision that Mrs. Frances Landers and Pere Jean Wilfrid Albert began in 1981, and we look to God to guide that vision.
In each village, HEF believes that an education, weekday lunch for students, clean water and healthcare for its residents provides the foundation in satisfying basic human needs. We hope that through providing basic human needs, we can assist Haitians to break out of their cycle of dependency.
The January, 2010 earthquake damaged or destroyed about two-thirds of our schools and we will fundraise for, and rebuild, those schools. The replacement schools and all future structures will be built to earthquake and hurricane-resistant standards.
We are working now to fully underwrite the day-to-day expenses of our mission, while investing in the future through our endowment. We see a day when our endowment’s income will support the basic educational expenses in Haiti.
We pray that in each decision we make, we are doing God’s will.
1. 100% of designated donations go directly to Haiti , with nothing deducted for administrative fees.
2. HEF emphasizes education of the children of Haiti before all other needs.
3. HEF works hard to minimize waste by spending carefully, since Haiti is notorious for making well-intentioned money disappear.
4. We realize that God has a plan for us in Haiti and we strive to understand and follow it.
5. We will build on the successful progress made over the years by our founders, Pere Jean Wilfrid Albert of Haiti and Mrs. Frances Landers of Arkansas.