Frequently Asked Questions
The choice of location, Gros-Mangles, came from one of Shippensburg University's alumni, Michael Celius, who was originally from Gros-Mangles. Dr. Belval-Ragone had been performing pro bono translation services for adoption paperwork for his family. Out of a desire to help the Gros-Mangles community at large, Dr. Belval-Ragone sought the help of Mr. Jonas Celius, Michael's father in Fall 2011.
When did it all start and how?
After a preliminary trip to Gros-Mangles to assess the needs of the community in May 2012, Dr. Belval-Ragone and Mr. Celius came back with a request from a local school, the École Presbytérale, that we help build a playground. We started fundraising shortly thereafter in order to purchase supplies for the construction (water, cement, wood for the frame, and gravel) and to pay local workers who have expertise with construction in Haiti (this was also a way of favoring the local economy) to guide us and oversee the construction process.
What was the fIrst Project?
In January 2013, a team of 2 Shippensburg University faculty and 3 students, with Mr. Jonas Celius as guide and facilitator, traveled to Gros-Mangles to undertake the construction of the playground. Thanks to the participation of a large portion of the Gros-Mangles community, the project, which had initially been a 5-year project, only took 2 years to complete.
How did it evolve?
Building up of this success, the next project came out of the desperate need of the Gros-Mangles community to have access to basic medical care. When people in Gros-Mangles needed care, they had to travel for two hours over very rocky roads to the nearest health facility, an impossible trip for the sickest and poorest. Various members of the community approached our group and asked if we could help them acquire a medical facility. Six years later, on June 1, 2020 the "Centre de santé communautaire Belval de Gros-Mangles"was opening its doors to its first patients.