Loyola University Maryland

Modern Languages & Literatures

Rendez-Vous: Haiti

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“If the question is: Can one fix a whole country such as Haiti, that has suffered so much turmoil and natural disasters? Perhaps not, but that is not my goal. My goal is to help establish a self-sustainable infrastructure and educational programs so that 96 destitute children can have an opportunity for a better future.”
- Catherine Savell

What is Rendez-Vous Haiti?

Rendez-Vous Haiti is a sustainability initiative founded by Loyola French instructor Catherine Savell in the wake of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. This project is aimed at empowering and enabling Haitians to develop concrete ways to improve their situation and sustain their own community.

Since March 2011, Madame Savell has focused her efforts in Santo, a suburb of capital city Port Au Prince. Serving as volunteer development and project manager for Relief Team One, she has been fundraising and coordinating the ongoing construction of the Village Notre Dame de Lourdes, a new complex that includes an elementary school, a vocational center, a multi-purpose building, a bakery and dormitories to support a community of 96 orphans, street children, and rescued “restavek” children and adolescents.

January 2016 Trip

There will be another trip to Haiti this coming January 2016.

Learn about the Haiti trip

Current Objectives

Rendez-Vous Haiti’s current objectives focus on:

  • Finishing the construction of the Village of Notre Dame de Lourdes’ elementary school, which began in September 2012
  • Furthering the development of self-sustainable infrastructure and educational programs to fortify the Village of Notre Dame de Lourdes community. Existing and upcoming projects include:
    • Vocational training (plumbing, sewing, cosmetology)
    • Handcraft production
    • A bakery
    • A chicken coop (learn about the Chicken or the Egg Project, an initiative to fund the construction of the chicken coop)
    • A computer center

Link to Loyola

At Loyola University Maryland, students, classes, and group projects have been linked to the development of the Village of Notre Dame complex in Haiti. While all contributions from members of the Loyola community have been tremendously valuable, the most notable group contributors include:

  • The Office of Mission Integration
  • Dr. Peter Lorenzi’s social entrepreneurship class
  • Ms. Jennifer Gunner’s Graduate Marketing Strategies class
  • Dr. Jonathan Lillie’s Web Design and Digital Media classes
  • The Business French class and the French club
  • The Children in Need club
  • The Women’s Center
  • Academic and administrative departments including Instructional Technology, Campus Ministry, and Modern Languages and Literatures

Beyond Rendez-Vous Haiti

Madame Catherine Savell

First sent by Dr. André Colombat, dean of the office of International Programs, to see if a service program could be set up in Haiti, Catherine Savell has been involved in Haiti reconstruction and development efforts since June 2010. With the support in part from Fr. Timothy Brown, Special Assistant to the President for Mission Integration at Loyola University Maryland, Mme. Savell dedicated six months to on-site work on numerous reconstruction and development projects, serving in a variety of roles. These projects and service roles include:  

  • Project feasibility studies for Hoffnunzeichen, from Germany for a Leper’s hospital wing at the Hopital Cardinal Leger in Leogane, a maternity ward at the Hopital Ste Therese in Hinche, to rebuild the administrative building for College Sacré Coeur in Port au Prince, and for the construction of a new complex in Santo, a suburb of Port au Prince
  • Project feasibility studies for other organizations such as Association Terre des Montagnes from France for a cultural center development in La Montagne, and for Julie Turner’s Upper Room orphanage in Croix des Bouquets 
  • Serving as coordinator and interpreter in support of Dr. David Haddad in consultation with Bishop Gontrand Decoste to elaborate a Catholic Business University in Jérémie
  • Consulting with Bishop Decoste to elaborate a Center for Innovation and Micro-Enterprise in Jérémie
  • Establishing a facility for a craft center based in Centre Saint Jean Bosco run by Father Jean Antoine for the most destitute children

Support Rendez-vous Haiti

Catherine Savell’s efforts for Haiti continue today. Support – financial or otherwise – is always needed and greatly appreciated.

Ready to help? Donate now.

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Learn More

Learn more about this project and how you can help: