Since 1999, Sacred Heart in Winnetka has been the twin parish of St. Jean Baptiste Parish in Sassier, Haiti. Sassier is located about 160 west of Port au Prince, Haiti’s capital. It is in a remote area with no electricity, public water service, or other services we consider essential. There is one dirt and gravel road, so people walk most places. Only motorized transport is motorcycles. There are very few cars. Sassier is the ituated about 8 miles outside of provincial capital of Jeremie, about a 2 or 3 hours walk. The parish is about 20 square miles, with a population of 10,000 (est). People are very, very poor.
Zanmi Sasye–Partners with Sassier collaborates on the US side with Sacred Heart Parish in Winnetka. St. Jean Baptiste, the Diocese of Jeremie and two Haitian not for profits collaborate on the Haitian side. Our primary activities include:
1. Haiti Parish and Haiti nfp collaborate on operation of the Parish school with 750 students from PreK to 13th grade; US provides funding and technical assistance
2. Haiti nfp owns and operates medical clinic with Parish collaboration
3. Second Haitian nfp builds schools and other infrastructure projects, primarily for Diocese of Jeremie
4. Sacred Heart supports Parish activities in Haiti;
5. Zanmi Sasye provides technical assistance for a variety of economic development and other projects, primarily implemented thru Haiti nfp, with cooperation of Parish; also provides or arranges funding from US or from international organizations.
2003-4 –School held in the Church w/200 students from K to 4th; construction of first 6 classrooms of new school building.
2004–Medical dispensaries in two locations in the parish established with full time nurses and medicines.
2006–First class of 23 6th graders graduate from elementary school; middle school starts with 7th grade; school enrollment at 625 students; two new chapels built for remote portions of Parish;
2008–First school building of 16 classrooms completed
2009–first class enters newly opened high school portion of Parish school, named after Venerable Pierre Toussaint.
2010–Huge earthquake hits Port au Prince; Sassier accepts 2000 internal refugees in four weeks; US/Haiti collaboration ensures adequate food, medical supplies, etc. for all; 120 extra students accepted into Parish school
2011–new 20 classroom school built with funding from German government to house elementary and prechool; school enrollment at 725 students; 1 kilometer of concrete road built entirely by hand (with a few cement mixers) to facilitate access to Sassier, which is in a very hilly area; total infrastructure investment;
2011–computer lab with 20 laptops established in new school building
2012–first parishwide evangelization project implemented, based upon Aparacida documents call for Parishes to be “communities of mission communities”
2012— new 8 classroom school plus administration building built for soon-to-be St Anne Parish in Voldrogue (funding of $250,000 by Germans)
2013–first class of 13th graders graduates from Parish school, which now has 825 students; Also, 6 parish evangelization project implemented, based upon success of 2012 Sassier project;
2013–new 8 classroom school plus administration building built for mission chapel in Tozia (St Mary Magdelene Parish in Duchity) with $275,000 of German funds
2015–construction of new Sassier Clinic undertaken; completed in 2016
2016–new 12 room medical clinic opens with full time doctor, 2 nurses and laboratory/pharmacy facilities; new 8 room school and administration building under construction for Holy Family Parish in Bordes ($250,000 of German funding)