SHU to Offer Haitian Creole Class to Aid Volunteers and Relief Workers

News Story: March 1, 2010
Sacred Heart University's University College is launching a new Haitian Creole class that will run at its Stamford campus. It is aimed to teach Haitian Creole to volunteers and relief workers heading to aid the earthquake-hit island-nation.

University College is the dynamic link to the region's adult and corporate communities. With campuses both in Fairfield and Stamford, Sacred Heart’s University College administers part-time studies, the Sacred Heart English Language Institute (SHELI) and the Center for Financial Education.

The 7-week course commences on March 22 and will run through May 7. The classes will be offered on Thursday evenings or Saturday mornings for 2 hours per session. The cost of the class is $200 and Sacred Heart University will donate 25% of the fees.

The new course follows the January 7.0 earthquake that ravaged many parts of Haiti’s capital of Port-Au-Prince. It is designed for relief workers, physicians and other volunteers traveling to Haiti and to give them a taste of the language and culture that will ease their efforts as they communicate with the victims and residents of Haiti.

In addition to teaching the fundamentals of the language, it will also impart customs, and communication styles of Haitians to students.

Customized workshops will also be offered to meet specific needs for those interested in the areas of medicine, nutrition, hygiene, religion, children, construction and rebuilding. These four-hour-long workshops will be scheduled within 2 weeks of the end of the 7 week course. The workshops will feature Sacred Heart University volunteers as guest speakers, who have recently returned from Haiti and can offer valuable insight to the current situation there. Workshops are offered at no additional fee.

“The purpose of the course is to give volunteers and relief workers introductory skills in Haitian Creole, as well as an understanding for the culture in Haiti,” said Madeleine Monaghan, director of SHELI.

“Learners will also be introduced to Haitian customs, traditions, popular beliefs and communication styles. This aspect of the course will help volunteers to understand Haitian ways of thinking and non-verbal cues so that they can be more effective in their work,” she added.

Several members of area relief agencies such as Westport's Save the Children and AmeriCares based in Stamford will be participating in the course.
"It might also help class participants form a perception of Haiti and the Haitian person that is different than what is usually portrayed in the media," said Anie Dubosse who is one of the instructors teaching the course.

Dubosse added there are a lot of nuances to learn about the culture and the Haitian people. She said that Haitians have a great sense of humor, and "although conscious of their plight, Haitians find in humor a secret antidote that sustains them in abject misery, oppression, and horrific disasters."

For more information, please contact Madeleine Monaghan at Sacred Heart University’s Stamford campus at 203-365-7528 or visit