The Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul recently received the Van Thuân Prize for Solidarity and Development. The award, instituted three years ago by the St. Matthew Foundation of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, recognizes institutions, associations, and other entities that carry out humanitarian and work projects in developing countries to defend human rights through the promotion and diffusion of evangelical principles, following the directives of the social doctrine of the Catholic Church.
The award recognized the work of sisters in Haiti following the January 12 earthquake as well as the recent cholera outbreak that has left 284 dead and another 3,600 infected.
Sister Maria Teresa Tapia, provincial of the Daughters of Charity in Haiti, said that her communities have been working for 30 years in Haiti "on the level of instruction as well as health, in the promotion of women and in the struggle against malnutrition."
The congregation lost its provincial house and a school in the quake, but the sisters rallied nonetheless to go to the largest hospital in Port-au-Prince and aid the wounded.
"So many sisters then arrived from Spain, from France, from England, from the United States, and from South and Central America to help the victims of the catastrophe, taking care of them and helping them in the refugee camps, in the clinics, in the districts of Port-au-Prince and in the Petit Goave campaign," Tapia said.
She noted that millions of Haitians are still living in tents and "have urgent need of dwellings, food, water, care and health services, school resources, and structures for children."
A short video on the sisters' work in Haiti: