VERO BEACH — Haiti Clinic, a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization dedicated to improving the health care of residents in the Cite Soleil area of Haiti, will bring a collection of Haitian Art to Vero Beach as part of the Saint Edward’s Trunk Show to be held the weekend of March 5 and 6. The traditional metal art form born in the slums of Haiti is created from pieces of scrap metal – fashioned from anything from car hoods to 55 gallon drum cans -which are transformed into a decorative art that is vibrantly colorful, redolent of the beauty of hand-hewn crafts, and uniquely Haitian.
“The art is made right in the neighborhood of Haiti Clinic in the slums of Cite Soleil,” explained Dr. Neil Heskel, a local dermatologist who has made many trips to Haiti to bring medicine and health care to the residents of Haiti’s poorest neighborhood. “Whole families live off the proceeds, literally feeding 100 people from the sale of the art.”
One-hundred percent of the funds from the proceeds of the sale of the Haitian art support Haiti Clinic which funds a full time medical clinic staffed by a Haitian physician, two nurses and a pharmacist, in addition to providing the clinic with medicine and supplies. A team of 10-12 physicians, nurses, dentists and medical students from around the country travel each month to Haiti to provide patient care to more than 600 people in the Cite Soleil. The majority of residents in Cite Soleil are children and young adults and few residents live past the age of 50. Many die early from disease and violence.
Haiti Clinic was started four years ago when local emergency room physician Dirk Parvus began traveling to Haiti to provide medical care to the poorest of the world’s poor. He and other medical staff, nurses and volunteers began donating their time and paying for their own trips to Haiti to provide care on an interim basis. Eventually Haiti Clinic was built and is now staffed with Haitian medical staff. Volunteers – groups of 10 to 12 medical providers and support teams, travel monthly at their own expense to Haiti and work in the Haiti Clinic in Cite Soleil.
“Most people don’t have any immunizations,” Dr. Heskel reports. “Children do not have preventative care, mothers, no pre-natal care. Many people have not had any medical care in their lifetimes. A whole team can see from 600 to 1,200 people when we are there and that adds up to 20,000 or so patients a year.”
“There is no medication,” Dr. Heskel continues. Donations are used to purchase medication which is packed and labeled by Haiti Clinic volunteers here in Vero Beach. The volunteer medical teams carry the medications with them on their trips to Haiti and carry back the art work made by Cite Soleil residents.
That art work, carried back by physicians, nurses, dentists and volunteers from around the country will be on display at the Saint Edward’s Parent’s Association Trunk Show on March 5 and 6.
Trunk Show hours are from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, March 5 and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, March 6. On Friday, March 4, a VIP Preview Party will be held at the School from 6 to 8 p.m.
Tickets to the VIP Party are $25 per person or $125 for a group of six.
Admission to the Trunk Show on Saturday and Sunday is $5 and allows unlimited admission throughout the weekend.
Proceeds from the Trunk Show benefit Saint Edward’s School. One-hundred percent of the proceeds from the sale of the Haitian art will benefit Haiti Clinic.
For more information on Haiti Clinic, or to volunteer or donate resources, visit www.haiticlinic.org.