We are preparing to leave Haiti. One question on the minds of many back home will be, “has our support of the Haiti Appeal made a difference? Have we had an impact on lives in Haiti?”
In our short time in this country we have witnessed the work of the Lutheran World Federation. The compassionate and determined way the LWF staff works daily with local camp committees to address urgent and future needs, identified by the community itself, brings relief and a sense of control for many whose lives have seemed out of control.
Yes, the people in the camps organized by the LWF receive tents and repairs for the tents along with blankets, hygiene supplies, classrooms, water facilities and means for personal and camp sanitation. But there are very practical strategies in place too. There is no food distribution any longer, meaning that the camps do not become a source of complete dependency for people.
Another strategy surrounds water supply. Storage tanks and distribution systems along with the first supply of water are provided free to the camp. After that the local management committee is expected to sell water and reorder as required. We were told this has had practical results. A woman was found to be seriously ill and required urgent hospital attention that was costly. The community used the surplus in their water fund to see that she got the medical care she needed. She’s alive today because of it.
Our partners are not limiting themselves to immediate relief alone. After all, there are 1,000,000 Haitians living in 1300 tent communities. They can’t do it alone. Others have to help and they do.
The school building program is impressive. A school can be built in three days, and add another week or so for latrines, kitchen, garden, and security fence and for less than $40,000 you have a school that can accommodate up to 200 children a day in shifts. The target is classroom space for at least 40,000 children. I think they’ll make it.
Employing people to rebuild infrastructure and provide for environmental preservation means money in the pocket for food, children’s school costs and starting a business as well as easing transportation of produce to market and goods into the communities in places like Tete au Boeuf.
This is only a small sample of all the work you are doing right here in Haiti today thanks to these effective and efficient partners.
Has your support made a difference, are you saving and changing lives? Emphatically yes.
— Posted by Tom Brook