Posts Tagged ‘Haiti’

Jesuit Refugee Service Water Project Highlights Recovery Efforts in Haiti

Two years after an earthquake struck Haiti the community of Los Cacaos has demonstrated what happens when neighbors work together to solve a problem. Fresh, clean water is now available to 700 families thanks to the community’s commitment to build a positive foundation for long-term improvements.

Catholic nuns based across the Artibonite river in San Francisco of Banica Parish in the Dominican Republic organized the project in consultation with community leaders. Jesuit Refugee Service/USA provided $113,000 to fund the project, and members of the community supplied the labor to build roads, construct cisterns and lay miles of plastic pipe and tubing.

“We had 11 brigades of 25 to 32 people each working on the project. They carried sand and cement to places where trucks could not reach. They carried these things over the hills to the source of the water,” said Wilens Thomas, of Los Cacaos.

Water project highlights recovery in Haiti from Jesuit Refugee Service | USA on Vimeo.

Previously, obtaining clean water meant a hike of several miles — one way — over rugged hills and through valleys to collect the water in buckets and jerrycans. The arduous trip took four hours or more, and often had to be done twice a day.

“Before the project I would send the kids to get water, it would sometimes take them half a day or more. Sometimes the water would spill on the return trip and they’d have to go back,” said community resident Olise, a father of five. Olise’s comment highlighted an additional benefit of the cisterns: children who were before engaged in trekking for hours to water sources now can concentrate on attending school within the safety of their communities.

“This project proclaims a bright future because all different age groups are involved. And I don’t want to leave out the work the women have done, they have done a great deal of work for this project,” said Sr. Refugio Chavez.

This community-based participative model for humanitarian aid delivery and development has had the dual role of providing necessary resources for the health of the community while strengthening the role of women in the decision-making processes and empowering them to take an active role in the development projects. In light of the prevalence of gender-based violence in Haiti, the full integration of local women in the planning and implementation of this life-saving water and reforestation project will have an enduring effect on the status of women in the region.

To read the full article and learn more about this ongoing project, please visit Jesuit Refugee Service/USA.

Jesuits Celebrate Opening of Fe y Alegria Playground on Haitian/Dominican Border

The Human Rights department of Solidaridad Fronteriza (border solidarity) recently inaugurated a playground in the Fe y Alegria School, of the Benito Monción District, in the city of Dajabón, Dominican Republic.

Jesuit Father Regino Martinez blessed the cultural and recreation area, which forms part of children and adolescents Integral Development Program, conducted in the Northern Border Zone.

The Jesuits are celebrating their 75th year of service to the border town between Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

The agronomist Benigno Ricardo Toribio (Gustavo) said the park was supported by Texaco Chevron Caribbean, through a contest to support the integral development of children of the border zone.

Jesuit Brother Boynton Experiences in Haiti Featured in This Month’s NJN Podcast

Jesuit Brother Jim Boynton stands amid the remains of the Eglise Sacre Coeur in Downtown Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

Jesuit Brother Jim Boynton stands amid the remains of the Eglise Sacre Coeur (Sacred Heart Church) in Downtown Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

Jesuit Brother Jim Boynton was missioned in late 2009 to Haiti to serve refugees through the Jesuit-founded Foi et Joie (Faith and Joy) school system. When the devastating earthquake hit the small Caribbean island nation on January 12, 2010, Br. Boyton answered the call to lead an emergency medical response team in the weeks following in Port-au-Prince.  Today, Jesuits continue to provide support in the dire situation that is Haiti a year after the natural disaster struck and continue to stand in solidarity with the people of Haiti during their time of need.

National Jesuit News spoke with Boynton about his experiences in Haiti during its monthly podcast series. You can listen to the interview with Boynton below:

Jesuit Brother Boynton Experiences in Haiti Featured in This Month’s NJN Podcast

Jesuit Brother Jim Boynton stands amid the remains of the Eglise Sacre Coeur in Downtown Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

Jesuit Brother Jim Boynton stands amid the remains of the Eglise Sacre Coeur (Sacred Heart Church) in Downtown Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

Jesuit Brother Jim Boynton was missioned in late 2009 to Haiti to serve refugees through the Jesuit-founded Foi et Joie (Faith and Joy) school system. When the devastating earthquake hit the small Caribbean island nation on January 12, 2010, Br. Boyton answered the call to lead an emergency medical response team in the weeks following in Port-au-Prince.  Today, Jesuits continue to provide support in the dire situation that is Haiti a year after the natural disaster struck and continue to stand in solidarity with the people of Haiti during their time of need.

National Jesuit News spoke with Boynton about his experiences in Haiti during its monthly podcast series. You can listen to the interview with Boynton below:

Six Months after Earthquake, Jesuits say Situation in Haiti Remains a Humanitarian Crisis

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Six months after the earthquake devastated Haiti on January 12, more than one million survivors continue to live in appalling conditions, with inadequate sanitation, limited access to services and food shortages, say the Jesuits who are working to provide humanitarian assistance.

Conditions in many of the nearly 1,400 camps for internally displaced persons (IDPs) around the capital, Port-au-Prince, are extremely critical. The conditions at the largest Jesuit Refugee Services’ (JRS) camp, Automeca, with a population of 12,000, are typical. Here, residents continue to live in shacks held up by rags and poles. There are no schools or electricity, sanitation is poor and the water barely drinkable. When heavy rain falls, garbage rushes through the camp.

For many years, JRS has had a grassroots presence in Haiti and has provided humanitarian assistance to displaced Haitians in both the Dominican Republic and along the Haitian border. JRS – Haiti is focusing its current relief efforts in the Port-au-Prince area, working in seven camps that serve the needs of more than 21,000 displaced people in and around the capital by providing emergency assistance, psychosocial support, and training to community leaders to manage camps and civil society organizations.

“Camp management and aid delivery structures should always include consultation and cooperation with the displaced people who are swiftly forming their own organizations to advocate for their own particular needs,” said JRS/USA Director Jesuit Father Kenneth J. Gavin. “More attention must be placed on supporting the food and relief needs for IDP recipient communities and people not living in camps so that moving to a camp is not the only way for people to receive minimal food, water, and livelihood assistance.”

At a meeting with JRS – Haiti on June 20, seven IDP camp leaders highlighted numerous concerns, including the lack of security, particularly in camps that don’t have electricity and lighting at night, which pose a particular threat to women and children.

The situation in unofficial camps is even worse. Throughout the city, unofficial camp residents receive little or no care from large aid organizations or international coordinating bodies; many have even been told leave the camps but have not been provided with alternative housing.

“JRS welcomes the moratorium on forced evictions issued by the Haitian government. Unfortunately, pressure from landowners on IDPs to evacuate the sites continues. Actions go so far as intermittent disconnection of the water supply, and refusals to allow the construction of more permanent shelters and street lighting. ,” said JRS – Haiti Director Jesuit Father Wismith Lazard. “The government needs to use its authority to protect camp residents from this kind of harassment, and put more effort into identifying suitable shelter.”

In the video below, Frs. Lazard and Kawas Francois, president of the Jesuit Interprovincial Committee for the Reconstruction of Haiti, discuss the conditions in the camps in Haiti and the plans to open 17 Jesuit Fe y Alegria (Hope & Joy) schools in the next year in Haiti.