Stories from Haiti: Children in Crisis

As the situation in Haiti becomes ever more dire, Living Water Children’s Fund has made the decision to put all funded programs and open grant applications in our Haiti Initiative on hold in order to focus on the number one most basic need at the moment for the children we serve in that county, and that is emergency supplies of food. The unrest has become so tumultuous that most schools are not in session and finding food has become a number one priority.

Several of the teachers and school directors we collaborate with have access to food, though it is extremely expensive as supplies have been cut drastically, and are able to acquire it and distribute it to the families who attend their schools and programs. LWCF has decided to divert all donations designated for our Haiti programs to an emergency food fund, to help these students and their families continue to access food, in a time when it is a scarce resource. Our first set of emergency food was sponsored and distributed this week, to families of students who attend the Aigle School in Jacmel.

Donate to the LWCF Emergency Food Fund for Haiti

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Children in Crisis

Another of our collaborating organizations, Pazapa, a special education school, will also be distributing food through our new emergency food fund. They have sent us stories of some of the families who will be impacted by the emergency food fund. The more we can raise and send, the longer we can help keep these children and their families away from the edge of starvation.

Dorestan Chrisnette is 7 years old and has been attending the Special Education School at Pazapa since 2016.  She has a learning disability.   She and her 3 other siblings live with their mother in no fixed home.  They usually live with friends or family willing to take them in.  They are very poor and the current crisis in Haiti has rendered their situation even more vulnerable.  The family that was helping them can no longer do so because they too are now struggling so Christnette’s mother has had to make some drastic decisions in order to save her children.  The children are no longer together, they have each been dropped off to a good Samaritan and the mother is begging for money in the streets of Jacmel.  Christnette is no longer in Jacmel.  She is living in Orangers, an area plagued by gang violence.  Her mother has lost all hope that things will improve but is simply asking for help because her children are all suffering enormously in these times.  

Ebruna Saint Juste is 15 years old and has been coming to Pazapa since 2012.  She lives with her parents and 2 sisters in an old house that is in very bad condition.   She has epileptic seizures and is in the low function class at Pazapa.  She gets her seizure medication from Pazapa.  If the unrest in Haiti continues, there will be no more medication available.  Ebruna’s mother is depressed by the crisis in Haiti and says that it has deeply impacted their family.  She is a participant in Pazapa’s Ti Commerce Loans and says that most days she can’t leave her house to sell her produce and will struggle to pay back on time.  They live in a slum and the mother doesn’t want to leave Ebruna home alone for fear that she will be raped.  Making it difficult for them to find food to survive.  Many nights they go to bed on an empty stomach.  This family would benefit from any financial or nutritional help

Surin Kenley is 15 and lives in Lafond.  He is part of our Outreach Program and is maintreamed.  Kenley has severe epileptic seizures and gets his medication from Pazapa.  He lost an eye during one seizure.  They are a family of 8.  His mother sells dry food in all surrounding markets but due to a recent stroke she doesn’t go to town anymore simply because she isn’t agile enough to run in times of panic…. And this tends to be the norm in Jacmel markets nowadays.  During this crisis she has spent all of her savings in order to feed her family and is now in debt.  She would need money to start up her business again.  Kenley’s father is a guardian at a nearby school and due to schools being closed he has not been paid for 3 months.  

Kenley is very frustrated by the current crisis in Haiti because he loves going to school.  He doesn’t like to stay at home because his father is becoming increasingly frustrated and loses patience with him.  He realizes that his mother is not able to sell her produce so he has decided to sell popcorn to help her feed the family.  

 Andris Jessica is a 12 year old Deaf girl.  She is in Grade 2 at the Pazapa school for the Deaf.  Her mother lives in the Dominican Republic and has never returned to Haiti.  Jessica is living with one of Pazapa’s Teachers, Gerzy.  Before the crisis in Haiti, Jessica’s mother used to send money for her care but she no longer does so.  In her foster Family she lives with another deaf girl that they have taken in; Gerzy and her husband have two children and one more on the way.  Things are getting increasingly difficult for Gerzy and her family because she is the only one with income at the moment.  Jessica has a bad skin infection that remains untreated because Gerzy can’t afford to take her to the hospital.  They can’t afford to buy food anymore so they are eating breadfruit everyday from a tree in their yard.  This is a family that is in need of help!  (financial, medical, nutritional)

This is where our Outreach Monitor Lainé Joseph lives.  It is a common setup in Haiti’s rural communities called a “Lakou”.  A Lakou is when relatives living in separates houses share one common central yard.  This lakou has 15 people living in it.  Lainé and his wife have 3 disabled children (Julie, Christnaida and Woodnelson).  There is also Deo and Valdy who live suffer from disabilities living in the same lakou.  4 of these children are mainstreamed thanks to Pazapa.    

Lainé and his wife are farmers.  They eat and live off of their land.  They are not able to sell their produce in town due to the unrest but have enough to eat.  The children are not fazed by the crisis.  They help feed the animals and the rest of the day they get into a lot of trouble together!  Due to lack of funding, Lainé has not had any income from Pazapa for a year now and without being able to sell, this family has no money.  Lainé and his wife just recently had a set of premature twins.  They lost one and the other has still not been vaccinated because they can’t afford to get to the hospital.  The reality is that most hospitals lack the much needed medical supplies, including vaccinations, due to roads being blocked for so long!

The need is great and never ending, but your generous donations can help us to provide emergency food for these and other families experiencing the current political, social and humanitarian crisis in Haiti. Until there is an end to the unrest, LWCF will remain committed to providing the funds for the heads of our collaborating schools and organizations to purchase and distribute emergency food to the families they serve. No donation is too small to have an impact on these children in crisis.

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