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Estelle Dubuisson’s story is a very special one. A native of Lascahobas, Haiti, she came to New York City in 1954. Mrs. Dubuisson was educated in Haiti and attended NYC Community College and received a degree in Medical Technology, Her three children were born and raised here and are now successful in their respective fields. After 22 years at the Veterans Administration Medical Center in the Bronx as a Medical Technologist, she retired. Her vocation had been redefined by the devastating poverty she had witnessed during a 1972 visit to her remote mountain village.
Construction of a hydroelectric dam had so disrupted people and commerce that those who could not afford to leave the area now lacked both work and food. Without a public welfare system, under-nourished women died in childbirth, already high infant mortality rates increased, and older children died of malnutrition. Upon her return, Ms. Dubuisson immediately collected one dollar each from some of her co-workers and sent the money to her village. She organized dances, bus rides, and raffles to provide school supplies for the children and to help build the Church of Lascahobas. A 1976 visit to Haiti renewed her determination to improve Lascahobasian children’s lives. That year, with the aid of Dr. Josephine English, Friends of the Children of Lascahobas, Haiti Inc. (FCLH) was formed. Without salaried staff in the United States, FCLH relies most heavily on the unflagging efforts of its founder and president, Estelle Dubuisson.
The IRS recognized FCLH and gave it the status of non-profit organization in 1981. Since then, FCLH has used funds collected in the United States to accomplish the following:
• 1981-1982 — donated an ambulance to allow the community to take people to the distant hospital for care; establish a Child Care Nutrition Center and an Eye Clinic. The center fed 300 children one meal per day. Monday through Friday, and sent 97 children to elementary school and 30 children, ages 10 to 15, to evening school.
• 1986 -built a Child Care Nutrition Center with the supplemental help of USAID
• 1988 – established a skills-training program for local youth
• Since 1982, FCLH has taken a medical team yearly to Lascahobas (with the exception of 2005 when political unrest precluded travel to Haiti)
• 1987 – FCLH was recognized by Haiti as an NGO (Non-Government Organization)
• 1995 – began construction of a hospital which opened in 1998 and was certified by the Ministry of Public Health and Population of Haiti in 2000
• 2001 – began a Cooperative Economic Group Project, providing each woman with seed money to purchase goods for resale, teaching them how to run a business, and giving incentives to save 2 dollars every month; each woman uses her profits to feed her children and continue her business. Today, 1187 adults in 33 groups are supporting their 3131 children through this project. Thirteen prior groups have become independent.
• Mrs. Dubuisson is also paid for the translation to French and the publishing of the biography of Pierre Toussaint which was written in English in By Ellen Tarry.
• She brought a little 11 years old girl to have open heart surgery at DOWNSTATE MEDICAL CENTER in New York and a little 10 years girl for enucleation eye surgery at Howard University Hospital in Washington, DC.
For her extraordinary accomplishments, Estelle Dubuisson has received recogition from numerous organizations, including the: Carib News “Caribbean-American Mother of the Year”; Pierre Toussaint Award; New York C’ty Council; Caribbean Cultural Association; New York State Governor; Lions Club; Haitian Cultural Organization of Baruch College; Anheuser Busch; Haitian-American Children’s Foundation; Mazon * A Jewish Response to Hunger; Overseas Medical Assistance Team; 100 Women for Major Owens; New Harlem YWCA; Caribbean Friends; EMG Health Communications; VIDCAPT, Inc.; International Black Women’s Congress; Tourislokal; AT&T & The Black American; the National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women’s Club Inc National Sojourner Truth Meritorious Service Award; Association For The Children Of Regnier In Haiti, Inc.
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