Caribbean Partners Walk With Haiti
Date: Friday January 17, 2014 / Author of post: cwmcaribbean
Immediately after the January 12, 2010 earthquake in Haiti which killed over 300,000 people, the United Church in Jamaica and the Cayman Islands (UCJCI) and many other Christian and civic organizations engaged in raising urgently needed support for the survivors. So great was the initial response from across the world that the meagre mechanisms surviving in Haiti for the reception and distribution of such goods and services were quickly overwhelmed.
The UCJCI collected money, food, water and clothing and dispatched all but the money through existing channel’s like the Salvation Army and the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM). UCJCI decided the money should be dispatched later, after a fuller assessment of the needs had been made.
Besides support from Jamaica, we received cash donations on behalf of the Haiti effort from the Council for World Mission, from our fraternal sister churches in Singapore, Ireland, England and Southern Africa among others. In total, over eighty thousand US dollars were received. A two person team consisting of Paul Miller and Gordon Cowans was sent to make a determination of how best to distribute the cash resources and it was determined that four areas would be targeted; 1) the work in La Cayes being undertaken by UCJCI medical missionary to that country, Mrs. Joan Page Bain, 2) the work among the handicapped, rendered so by the earthquake, 3) the orphanage established as a result of the numerous homeless orphaned children whose parents had died in the earthquake and 4) a scholarship fund for Haitian children to pursue their education in Jamaica.
All the funds were distributed except for the scholarship money as the three children chosen have yet to be issued a passport enabling them to travel to Jamaica.
The funds which were sent to Le Cayes was used for the procurement of a generator which allowed consistent electrical power for the proper refrigeration of the medicines dispensed at the clinic.
It also facilitated a well to be brought into use thus providing potable water for the clinic and for persons living in the immediate surrounding areas.
They also received a grant for a chicken project which allowed for impoverished folk, without the means of a livelihood, to engage in small scale chicken farming. This project allowed them some occasional protein but gave them a revenue stream as they sold the mature birds. This process would revolve as revenue would be reinvested in a fresh crop of chickens and as their expertise grew, so would their profits.
A similar chicken project was developed in Port au Prince through the agency of the Society Christian de Haiti (SCdH), led by the remarkable Ernst Abraham. They deployed the bulk of the funds focussing exclusively on the handicapped to great success. We also distributed canes to blind and other such conveniences.
The missionary pastor working with the handicapped programme of the SCdH, Ezequiel Batista and his wife could not endure the suffering of the orphaned children and so they opened their modest home to them.
They now care for over forty with ages ranging from three to fifteen. This they do through a prime location and two small satellite centers. UCJCI committed to assisting them for one year, which has now morphed into two and a half.
The initial cash ran out at the end of 2012 but the work with them and with an extension to the chicken project continues through the generous contribution of the Presbyterian church of Trinidad and Tobago under the leadership of its Moderator, Rt. Rev. Brenda Bullock . They had collected the equivalent of US$50,000 and sent those funds to be mingled with UCJCI’s efforts on behalf of Haiti.
Through this new contribution, the orphanage has been supported for the calendar year 2013 as well as renewed sponsorship of the chicken project for the disabled. Thirty thousand US dollars were assigned for the orphanage and twenty thousand to the chicken project. From all accounts, the money has been responsibly used.