Kingston Charity Brings Dental Care to Haiti


By Merideth Smith, Kingston Herald
Sunday, February 28, 2016

The Helping Haiti team has returned from another productive trip to the impoverished Caribbean country, where founder Tammy Aristilde kept busy with multiple projects that included a new dental contingent.

In 2014, Aristilde had been put in touch with the group Kindness In Action – a charity that organizes trips to developing countries where they provide dental care to those in need.

Patient receiving dental work from "Kindness in Action"

Patient receiving dental work from “Kindness in Action”

Helping Haiti assisted Kindness In Action by bringing the 15 person dental brigade into Cite Soleil every day of the trip, with two drivers and two security personnel providing a safe and controlled site in Cite Soleil.

The dentists saw over 325 patients – ranging from the age of 4 up to 100 years old – and performed 410 tooth extractions, 82 fillings, 127 cleanings, and treated 10 people for existing infections.

People came to the clinic from 22 different zones of Port Au Prince – 11 zones inside Cite Soleil, with 36 different areas within those zones. These areas of Cite Soleil are sometimes treated as boundaries by the residents due to hostilities between the powers within them.

Helping Haiti also continued worked on their medical clinic during the trip.

Another bed was installed and the clinic’s shelves were filled with over 1000 condoms generously donated by the Sexual Health Resource Centre at Queen’s University.

Baby bottles and diapers, along with over $300 in over the counter medical supplies, vitamins, and medications were also brought in.

The charity has established a plan for sustainability for their medical clinic and, since medical supplies and staff are not cheap, this has been a tricky task compared to their other projects – like the water tower erected by Helping Haiti before the 2010 earthquake.

Another project on the horizon for Helping Haiti is a Community Centre.

On this most recent trip, Aristilde and her team met with their engineer to discuss the centre, as well as purchasing a wheelbarrow for a young man to use while working on the property.

The charity also hired a teacher and ran a three month dental English course for 7 translators – providing food and drink for all participants on class days.

Helping Haiti is proud of hiring local people in Cite Soleil for work. During this trip, they employed over 40 people each day and paid for all lunches – utilizing the services and supported two cooking businesses in Cite Soleil.

Other smaller scale initiatives Helping Haiti organized for this trip included supporting a portion of the construction for a community Fwa, where vendors all over Cite Soleil are gathering in February to sell their wares.

The group was also joined on this trip by one of the presidents of Queen’s Helping Haiti. They were involved in every aspect of the trip to better help the organization understand the work done on the ground in Cite Soleil.

The Kingston-based charity has also redesigned its website and will be releasing a new video that was shot while in Haiti last month.

Helping Haiti focuses on sustainable help to Cite Soleil, the poorest area of Haiti’s capital city Port-au-Prince. They are engaged in a number of initiatives – from safe water to education – that feature projects designed to encourage cooperation among the people of Cite Soleil.

You can see more about the charity’s work this past summer by reading the summary on their Facebook page.

Donations can be made to Helping Haiti at their website, HelpingHaiti.ca, which offers the option to print out a Charitable Tax Receipt for donors.

Got Shoppers Drug Mart Optimum points?

If your Optimum points are burning a hole in your pocket and you would like to donate a few towards outfitting the clinic in Cite Soleil, Shoppers Drug Mart has now partnered with Helping Haiti and included it in their list of Charities eligible for point transfers.

Shoppers Drug Mart started off the program by donating $300.00+ worth of points and you can help by donating your spare Optimum points at the Shopper’s Drug Mart’s Charity page or simply go to the ‘Transfer’ section of the Optimum app or your profile page, and locate ‘Helping Haiti’ in the list of charities.