Health and Education Action League for Haiti (HEAL Haiti) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to training and mobilizing young leaders to improve health care and save lives. Through nursing training and health and science education programs, HEAL Haiti aims to develop a cadre of highly skilled health professionals prepared to respond to Haiti’s healthcare needs. This exceptional organization was founded by a strong-willed and phenomenal woman, Gretha Fievre, RN, BSN. She a true inspiration not only in the Haitian Community but the light within her shines regardless of her environment.
Get to know Gretha in her own words
” My name is Gretha Fievre, a clinical Adjunct Professor at the Lienhard School of Nursing at Pace University and Adelphi University College of Nursing and Public Health, where I teach courses in the Fundamentals of Patient Centered Nursing Care Laboratory, Medical-Surgical Nursing Care of Adults.
A retired Registered Nurse who worked in the Emergency Department as well as in the Primary Care Clinic at Queens Hospital Center. I am presently working as a Director of Patient Services at CitiHealth Home Care Services on a part time basis
I am dedicated to making a long-term contribution to the development of health care and education in Haiti. In the fall of 2012 she founded the Health Education Action League for Haiti (HEAL Haiti), a nonprofit organization dedicated to training and mobilizing future leaders to improve health care in Haiti.”
Here is Gretha’s answer when I asked her what inspired her to launch the Heal Haiti Project?
When devastating earthquake happened in Haiti, I needed to be there to volunteer. I left on January 28th to be on ground- there is no need to elaborate about the earthquake because I do not have enough words and enough pictures to express my feelings about what I saw then; however, there is always a positive side to the darkest side the establishment of the non-profit organization “Heal Haiti”.
“There is a particular boy I will spend the rest of my life searching for, because this boy helped me find my true calling and is the main inspiration behind the Heal-Haiti organization. This boy was following me everywhere on ground, he was calling me Madame Fievre everywhere; I don’t know how to describe him but they call them *’kokorat’*locally; street “bumb” in English is how people will call him. Somehow he was after me every time; these kids are so young and they do anything to survive. They get in the bed, pretend they are sick just so they can get food to eat. One day this specific boy and I truly connected and I told him, I will make you work, he said me? I said YES. There was this patient on the ground, very dirty and in a bad physical state-one of the doctors and the nurses where working on the scars of this patient who was much debilitated. I told him that we can clean up this patient…The reason why I really stressed about this other child is because he followed me and he was willing to help me; so we got down and started washing up the patient. After few minutes washing up the patient, someone called me because at that time I was in charge of a lot so I had to leave and this was about 11 o’clock. I completely and totally forgot about what I was doing and at the end of the day we all gathered for the bus to pick us up and I saw him sitting right by the park where he knows the bus usually picks me up. So I said, oh! My God; I forgot about you; how you doing. So he said, come and see! So when I went there, I looked at the work this boy did and he felt so good about it and he said, he’s so clean now. I felt so good about the effort and work this boy put- I thought to myself that – God, if these children who are called *Kokorat and living in the slums- if they had someone to direct them, to provide care; what a big difference we will have in Haiti.
That is when I reached out to others and shared this story that bothered me; I felt so compelled that something could be done- with that, friends, families and others joined forces to establish this nonprofit – Heal Haiti organization. As an Haitian American Registered Nurse Educationist who visited the motherland Haiti in a period of the tragic moment; upon my immediate return I felt highly obliged to start a “ movement ” that catered to the public health needs of the people in Haiti.
What challenges Gretha faced while launching Heal Haiti Project:
- Philanthropic development requires lot of financial resources I am constantly working, begging for funds, for volunteers.
- Structure of the organization
- It has not been difficult to find people to get involved with the organization; however, time commitment may not work for everyone. There is always a turn over; ultimately, the structure of the organization is affected
- Integrity of volunteers
- 501c(3) status
- Building up trust among volunteers and donors.
- Logistic in Haiti .Continuous turn-over of Government in Haiti.
- Transporting supplies in Haiti
- Define your mission
The Priceless life lesson since starting with this project
Always be transparent. I live with the words of Nelson Mandela said, “When a man has done what he considers to be his duty to his people and his country, he can rest in peace.” Constantly praying, Patience. Listen to your gut feeling and always, always, focus on the positive aspect . Create a respectful environment within the organization and listen to expert. Be thankful for everyone participation do not take your leadership lightly, understand your accountability and learn to accept constructive criticism.
Learn more about Heal Haiti’s most recent and upcoming Fair in Haiti?
The 2015 health fair in St. Marc was the highest achievement for HEAL Haiti thus far! We provided care to 750 clients in one day. We mobilized a staff of 20 physicians from Haiti, 10 nurses from St. Marc, 10 nursing students from ENIASM Nursing School, 20 students from local high schools, and 20 volunteers who traveled from Atlanta, Boston, Florida, New York, in addition to the ones living in Haiti. For the past three years, HEAL Haiti annual health fairs have helped nearly 2,000 Haitians in St. Marc and mobilized over 300 volunteers.
At this present time HEAL Haiti’s vision is to develop a sustainable model for care so that we can build healthy communities.
The HEAL Haiti 4th Annual health fair in Saint Marc is scheduled on April 22nd 2016. The New York team will leave on April 19th 2016. HEAL Haiti will emulate the clinical successes of the previous health fairs and execute the improvements identified in our debriefings. In addition, HEAL Haiti is working on establishing continuity of care for the underserved population.
Here is how you can join the Heal Haiti Project
P.O. Box 280558
Queens Village, NY 11428
Lastly, I asked her what advice will she give to anyone who wish to start a project in helping Haiti and its people? Ms. Fievre answered with the following statement: “We are born with the desire to help others and this innate aspiration must be cultivated within the Haitian communities you must find people who support your mission and instruct about the business facet of nonprofit organization.”
As President Bill Clinton once said ” When we give what we can, and give it with joy, we don’t just renew the American tradition of giving, we also renew ourselves.” With these words I encourage you to stay connected with Heal Haiti and support a cause that is impacting the health of our people positively.
HEAL HAITI Inaugural Gala 10.24.15
Jeffrey Gardere Haitian Psychologist “Dr. Jeff” & “America’s Psychologist” Media Personality & CNN Contributor was the Keynote Speaker at World Fair Marina 1 World’s Fair Marina. At the Gala the organization Honored Notable Health Care Professionals who are Impacting Lives in Haiti.
Honorees at the gala
HEAL HAITI Inaugural Gala Gallery