Message from Jim

It has surely been another successful year for all of us involved with Lamp for Haiti.  Our continued hope is that you consider yourself as an integral part of that success.

Lamp for Haiti is about addressing healthcare as a means to build community. It’s no secret that when one feels healthy, spirits are lifted, work gets done, families are fed.  Our work with and for the marginalized poor, is necessary.  It is a work born out of an epiphany of sorts, an eye opening experience that recognizes the huge economic gradient that exists between our country and our neighbors 90 miles off of Florida. It is a work that takes that recognition of existing despair and channels it enthusiastically and shines a lamp.

As we approach our ten year anniversary, all of us can take pride in what together we’ve accomplished from those early days when we provided care in alleys and empty buildings. Today our professional primary and urgent care health center sees more than 1,000 patients each month. We have established a women’s health program. We provide nutrition to malnourished children. We are utilizing an electronic health record that is providing us with hard data, data that not only is helpful for tracking patient trends, but also in staying transparent to oversight organizations and to donors.

Our courageous staff has weathered hurricanes and earthquakes, civil unrest and political turmoil, and continues to provide care with a smile. They can do so because of your continued support, and your continuing confidence in this project.

Our very best to you and your families this holiday season. Stay warm. Thanks again for helping us to keep the Lamp shining bright.


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Supporting Lamp for Haiti’s Community Health Workers Initiative

Supporting Lamp for Haiti’s Community Health Workers Initiative

Thank you for your support. Your financial and promotional contribution to this campaign will help us improve the quality of care for hundreds of residents living in Cite Soleil, Haiti.

You can help our campaign by:

  1. Donating

You can donate to Lamp for Haiti’s campaign by clicking on the campaign link on our website at, going directly to, or by going to and typing “LampforHaiti’ or ‘The Lamp Foundation” in the search bar.

  1. Sharing this campaign on your social media

CrowdRise allows users to directly share this campaign on their Facebook and Twitter pages by clicking on the links provided. To share this campaign on other social media outlets, such as LinkedIn, you can copy the following text onto your page

 Hi Everyone,

Please help an organization I really care about raise money to provide health care services in Haiti. You can check out their crowdfunding campaign here:

  1. Forwarding this campaign via email to your contacts

Cut and paste or forward the letter included in this tool kit in the body of the email to your contacts

 Starting or supporting a Lamp for Haiti (The Lamp Foundation) team fundraiser on our CrowdRise page

 Starting a Fundraiser

Scroll to the bottom half of our page and click on ‘JOIN THE TEAM’. This option requires you to sign in using your Facebook page. Please Note: Lamp for Haiti will not have access to your Facebook page this way, and CrowdRise does not use your Facebook account to solicit you or post anything on your page, this is just an option to easily sign into CrowdRise.

The second option is to sign up for CrowdRise which you can do by providing your name, email address and a password you created. Once you sign up you will be considered a team member of this specific campaign and you can use a photo of yourself to represent your page and write messages to your team. Please Note: If you choose this option, Lamp for Haiti’s description of the campaign will automatically populate onto your page.

Supporting a Team Member’s Fundraiser

Go directly to, click the donate button and select the team member you would like to support from the drop down option on the donate page.



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Spring Campaign for Community Health Workers!

CHW options-081

UPDATE on Spring Campaign: Our goal was $25,000.  The final tally was $27,185!  Thanks to all!!

Community-based health services are what the Lamp is all about. This shows through in all kinds of ways, though most clearly by the fact that our clinic is located right in the middle of the community we serve – not even on a main road, but in amongst the meager slum homes, part and parcel of daily life. We want to be a part of the community, to be part of its progress, to be a catalyst for that positive change. Our all-Haitian staff is a tremendous influence in that way — a glowing example of hard work, integrity and professionalism. But we don’t just want to provide services to the people, we want to involve the community in the ongoing success of the clinic itself. Therefore, all of our construction projects (and many other activities) utilize both community labor and materials from local micro businesses. Our staff includes four people from the local area, including our X-ray technician, who lives right next to the clinic itself.

However, one element of our community building approach is not yet in place — Community Health Workers!  Community Health Workers are local residents that are trained to act as health agents, visiting people in their homes, providing basic services and a vibrant connection between the community and the health center. In a place like Cite Soleil this outreach can save a tremendous number of lives.

Click the link to visit our fundraising page!

The campaign has been extended until May 31st.  We need to start this critical program!  Please give generously and pass on the word!

For some instructions on HOW to pass the word, click here!  Help the Spring Campaign!


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Thanks to All

poster image

January 30th was an inspiring evening for all of us.  Thanks to Cindy Stagoff for putting together this marvelous event — for the seventh year in a row!

The concert included presentations from the four Haiti-centric organizations that will be the beneficiaries of the event: Edeyo, which operates a school in a disadvantaged neighborhood in Port-au-Prince; HELP, which provides university scholarships to exceptional Haitian students;  WHYHunger, which empowers community based groups in many countries, including Haiti, and of course the Lamp for Haiti, with our health center in the heart of Cité Soleil.

The event as a whole was marvelously representative of the power, beauty and vivacity of Haitian culture.  It also made us all reconsider our good fortune and gave the better side of our natures —  our “better selves” — a chance to shine.


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A Visit to Bwa Nèf

Grace Harrison is a high school senior from Montclair, NJ, who recently visited the Lamp’s clinic.  She wrote this piece as a college entrance essay.

To view the whole newsletter, click here!

I stepped out of the van in Cité Soleil, Haiti. The powerful odors of pigs, dogs, goats and strewn garbage assaulted my senses.  I saw homes created from concrete slabs and children playing with empty bottles tied to strings, others splashing barefoot in filthy puddles. I saw a woman selling mud cookies, which hungry people use to trick their stomachs into feeling full.  Two teenage boys played dominos, one with two guns strapped to his waist.
I followed the footsteps in front of me to the Lamp for Haiti. The safe, clean health clinic was an oasis. Dozens of people waited for care, including pregnant teenagers younger than me, elderly people who have lived a long hard life, and sick people with nowhere else to go. Here I was, a healthy teenager from New Jersey, in an impoverished community in Port-Au-Prince. I expected resentment, and yet a woman who had almost nothing shared her chestnuts with me and another woman reached out to hug me tightly.
The next day I watched two little girls sitting in a pile of indescribable garbage. We stared at each other as people from two different worlds. It felt like there was an unspoken agreement to keep a comfortable distance. And yet, when one of the girls began to cry I broke that distance and walked over to rub her back. She reached her arms around my neck and I lifted her off the ground. As she rested her tiny head on my chest, her tears stopped. Mine began. After a few moments between us I put her bare feet back on the dangerous, debris filled ground. Walking away from her took all my strength. Her face will remain with me for the rest of my life.
That same day I joined nurses, doctors and Lamp supporters for a celebration of fried plantains and grilled goat that followed the annual board meeting. The manager of the Lamp, named Benoit, kissed me and said, “Thank you, Grace. You are helping to save lives. We appreciate all you have done.” I was humbled because nothing I did compares to what the Lamp employees, both Haitian and American, accomplish every day.
I had learned about The Lamp three years ago from Dr. Jim Morgan, a physician in my town. I was moved by his words and knew I had to help. But how could a 16-year-old in New Jersey help people in Haiti?  I felt powerless. Then, one day in chorus class, as I listened to friends belt out high notes, I thought there must be a way to use our love of music to help others. I invited my friends to sing, borrowed microphones and cables, reached out to businesses for donations and sent out invitations to my Backyard Lamp for Haiti Concert.  Dr. Morgan came to speak and told us that Cité Soleil was the only place in the world Mother Theresa called more impoverished than Calcutta. The event raised more than $3000. The next year I organized my second concert, raising total contributions to $7000. Then in October Dr. Morgan invited me to see firsthand how the funds I raised were helping. I got a typhoid shot and used my babysitting money to book a flight.
Can a person’s life change in four days? Mine did. Haiti changed how I see my place in the world. Organizing my backyard concert made me realize I can make a difference and being in Haiti made me realize that I must. After just three and a half hours on the plane, I was back home drinking clean water from the tap. Guilt coated my bones that night as I put the air conditioning on and fell asleep thinking of the girl I had held a world away.

Photo by Grace

Photo by Grace


adminA Visit to Bwa Nèf
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Solar Powered Lamp – coming soon!

The community of Bwa Nèf, like most other neighborhoods within the larger slum of Cité Soleil, has no electrical infrastructure. Residents pool money to buy a transformer, and then attach a multitude of wires to this transformer – one for each family. The resulting power is very weak. Every so often the overworked transformer explodes and a new one must be purchased. This is the system that the Lamp uses for its clinic – for its lights, fans and computers. Unfortunately, even this power is highly unreliable. Power is available for only a few hours each day, and over the last year the number of hours has been declining.

What this means for the Lamp is that we have been forced to use our generators on a near-constant basis. Generators are fine for back-up power, but they are noisy, polluting, and costly to run and to maintain.

We are thrilled, therefore, to announce that we will soon be “going green”!

Pharmacy 1

The solar panels will go up on the new cement roof

Old picture of pharmacy (as registration room)

The room was previously used for patient registration (and for health education!)  It will soon be our new pharmacy.

Solar battery storage

A new storage room for the solar batteries












Thanks to the farsightedness and environmental concern of certain of our supporters we will soon be installing solar panels on the roof of the pictured room, with a full complement of batteries next door. In addition to its other advantages, a solar system provides 24 hour power – through the use of the battery system – which will allow us to store medications, such as vaccines, that require refrigeration at the clinic site itself. To say that we are looking forward to this would be a major understatement!

The pictured room, by the way, has recently acquired a new cement roof, to allow the placement of the solar panels and will soon be the new site of our pharmacy.

For more information on the current work of the Lamp, please check out our latest newsletter here!  For updates on our work, including this exciting initiative, check back on this site OR ask to join our mailing list here (please specify print or email!)

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Ready to Learn

The pictures are of a few of the school children that the Lamp sponsors, near to our clinic in Cité Soleil.  Education is not the primary focus of the Lamp but it’s hard to underestimate its value. People in Cité Soleil are well aware that education is the one sure way to give yourself, and your children, a chance at a better life. In response, the Lamp has been supporting children in the local schools of Bwa Nèf ever since our clinic was established here. This year we will be supporting 23 young people.

Schnaida and Djoulie

Schnaida and Djoulie


Ideally, one would love to support many more, and above that, the local schools themselves. There are more than 1,000 children in the five schools closest to the Lamp’s clinic. We provide occasional support for the schools – sponsoring the studies of one school’s principal so that his school could be state-approved, providing a tutoring program at another school. But there is always more to do; a program of teacher training which includes a summer camp for kids has long been one of our dreams.






Until that dream is realized, though, it has been very gratifying to realize that our support, small though it is, has been of tremendous importance to the local community. Regular, reliable, fees for 23 children is in fact an enviable source of income for these schools. The large majority of families struggle mightily to provide the necessary fees but are often forced to keep some children at home, or to see their children sent home for lack of payment. Schools are always on the edge of financial collapse.

So it was a pleasant surprise to note that one of the schools, where most of our sponsored children go, was expanding its facilities. The owner, Ms Samson, was clear: it is only because of our regular sponsorship that she could take the risk.

The Lamp’s first priority here in Bwa Nèf is to provide the best health care we can, but we also want to make sure that we are an open and engaged member of the larger community. Our education program is one great way to do that.

Djoulie and dad

Djoulie and her father



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Taking on the challenge of Electronic Medical Records

Rony Charles

Rony Charles, EMR programmer

Dr Severe, EMR

Dr. Severe at work, using the EMR system

The Lamp for Haiti is first and foremost a community organization. Everything that we do is focused on one thing: improving lives in the community that surrounds our health center in Bwa Nèf, Cité Soleil.  Cité Soleil is a notorious slum; the needs of the community are many. One might wonder then, Are electronic medical records the best way to spend our energy and our limited resources? EMR systems need computers, appropriate software, uninterrupted electricity, trained personnel, maintenance. Very few clinics in Haiti have EMR systems, Should the Lamp be pushing the envelope in this way?

This article is written to say a resounding “Yes!” to those questions! It has, in fact, been a substantial challenge but the end result is something that has justified all of our efforts. Our current EMR system provides our doctors with unparalleled recording of, and access to, a patient’s medical history.  It provides unparalleled efficiency and unparalleled ability to analyze our medical activities. All of these “unparalleled” things mean that we are providing substantially better medical care for our patients, and that was always the main goal. The system also allows much better accountability and reporting so that our administrative tasks are also reduced.

It was not, however, an easy fight. Our initial (two) attempts to use US-based commercial systems were not sustainable. Those systems are extremely complex, demand very substantial resources (even if the software is provided for free!), and include many features that are irrelevant to the needs of a primary health care center.

Our answer, after those two attempts, was to “buy local” — always a good idea in the realm of international work! We opted to customize an open-source EMR, called OpenMRS, that had been developed initially in Haiti by the aggressively progressive Partners in Health, and then rebuilt at MIT. Nick Sahagian, a remarkable young medical student, took this shell and customized it for our clinic. We began to use it immediately. That was in 2013. Now the final piece of the puzzle has fallen into place. We have found, and hired on contract, an excellent Haitian IT programmer, Rony Charles. Amazingly enough, Rony has extensive experience with OpenMRS itself. He is, as we speak, adding new modules to the system and making it even more robust. With Rony available for maintenance and upgrades, we can be confident that our system will always be up-to-date and fully functional. Our EMR system is here to stay.

Like many other things at the Lamp, the move to integrate an electronic medical records system was a risk. Perseverance was our main weapon and this case perseverance won the day.

The real winners? The people of Cité Soleil.


The next innovation? A fully solar-powered clinic.

Will it pay off? We will have to wait and see…


EMR training

Initial EMR training with Dr James Morgan and Nick Sahagian

Nick at Pharmacy

Nick making sure the system works in place (at the pharmacy)

adminTaking on the challenge of Electronic Medical Records
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