As spring arrives, with flowers blooming and warmer weather, we trust and hope that you are all healthy and well.
This first 2022 update on the Haiti Children & Youth project summarizes the latest news and introduces two new programs.
Voix d’Espoir Communautaire, Voice of Community HopeEvery two years our partner non-government organization (NGO) in Haiti is required to renew their NGO designation. With the expansion of the project to two communities, Lavalee and also Jacmel, when renewing NGO status this year the Haitian leaders decided to change the name of the NGO to “Voix d’Espoir Communautaire” (VECOM) instead of the previous name “Source d’Espoir Communautaire” (SECOM). VECOM is now the umbrella NGO for all Haiti Children & Youth Project activities and SECOM refers to project activities only in Lavalee.
2022 Youth Retreat (see photos below) Two Youth Retreats were held simultaneously at the end of February this year, one in Lavalee and one in Jacmel. The planning of these two events was exciting as this was the first Youth Retreat in Jacmel and, with the COVID-19 pandemic, the last Youth Retreat in Lavalee took place early 2020.
In Lavalee 35 teens and young adults attended the retreat, in Jacmel 33 participated. About eighty percent of the attendees in Jacmel are orphans. Both programs involved singing, drama, health education, and nutritious meals/snacks. The program in Jacmel also offered a cooking lesson and watching movies.
Youth in Jacmel and Lavalee were grateful for what they learned at the retreat and for the few days of social recreation together. Some of the youth in Jacmel expressed how thankful and happy they were to be able to attend a great program during the annual five day Haitian Carnival. They commented that the Youth Retreat provides a “safer” environment than the one they would be exposed to if they went to Carnival which is colorful and fun but also involves alcohol, drugs, sexual activities. The youth in Lavalee were very glad that the Youth Retreat could finally resume again after it was postponed for two years. They expressed their appreciation for all the work the project is doing in their community.
Soccer Camp After having to postpone the annual Soccer Camp for two years, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, planning has begun for the next Soccer Camp in Lavalee and for the first Soccer Camp in Jacmel this August 2022. Jean is hoping to be in Haiti for both camps and for the first time since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The project received another large donation of soccer uniforms from the Vancouver United Football Club as well as some soccer uniforms from the Cliff Avenue United Football Club in Burnaby, about 1000 soccer jerseys in total. The uniforms from Cliff Avenue Football Club were collected for two years during the pandemic by a thoughtful friend. Jean is in the process of finding a viable option to transport the uniforms to Haiti.
Education Support During both Soccer Camps this summer the project will again distribute school supplies and school bursaries to orphans and other low income students.
Jacmel Program UpdateWith recent political insecurity and rising inflation in Haiti, food is even more expensive which makes it very difficult for parents and guardians to feed their families. Our leaders noticed that the children and youth who attend the Jacmel program are hungry most of the time so are unable to focus well on their studies. Starting at the end of April this year, with generous financial support from a new donor, the project has been able to provide a small meal or nutritious snack when students come to the project office to study and hang out before or after their classes. Project volunteers prepare bread and peanut butter, pasta, or potatoes/cassava/plantain with fish sauce along with fruit, vegetables, or juice. The leaders report that since this food program began a few weeks ago it is already evident that the kids and teens are better able to concentrate on their school work.
Medical Assistance In Haiti individuals have to pay directly for any medical services or treatment they require, there is no medical insurance and there is publicly funded medical care. Most of the orphans and other people in the communities where we work cannot afford to see a doctor even when they are sick.
In March this year the project started a medical assistance fund with small donations from two regular donors, a total of $190 Canadian. This fund has already helped four orphans and two elderly widows. One orphan was suffering pain in his abdomen. He able to see a doctor and have a few medical tests to receive a diagnosis then purchase the prescribed medication which has effectively resolved his pain. Another orphan had a motorcycle accident on his way to school and was able to be examined by a doctor right away. These two youth expressed their gratitude for this new program because without the assistance it provided they would not have been able to receive any medical treatment. A third orphan, a 5 year old boy, has asthma. The project was able to help this child’s caregiver purchase the medication, inhalers, that the child needs for his asthma symptoms to be well managed.
Earthquake ReliefThis past February and March 2022 the project distributed the remainder of the Emergency Relief funds in Les Cayes and completed follow up with all the recipients of this aide. The project was able to help re-establish a total of 321 families in the city of Les Cayes after the devastating 7.2 earthquake in the southeast of Haiti last August 2021.
We are extremely grateful for your interest in the Haiti Children & Youth project.
Jean & Terri Lubin
Rose Charities ‘Haiti Children & Youth Project’
Links for online donation:
Rose Charities CanadaDonate to Projects in Central America and the Caribbean | Rose Charities Canada