Health, Hope and Sustainability on LaGonave Island, Haiti
The news from Haiti continues to remind us of the almost impossible situation the people of Haiti try to navigate daily. World Hope is walking with the people in the midst of the pain and chaos.
Already struggling politically and economically, the chaos following the assassination of President Jovenel Moise has resulted in a negative spiral of gang violence and economic hardship. As I write this there is no positive indication in the short term to suggest this will change soon.
Most international missions or humanitarian organizations have suspended or reduced operations. There is a rising chorus of voices both inside and outside of Haiti for international intervention. At present gangs have blockaded the Port-au-Prince shipping port and the largest petroleum tank farm and fuel supplies are critically low. Several hospitals have closed or greatly reduced operations because they are unable to find fuel to run their generators.
In Haiti, World Hope International focuses on Global Health in partnership with the La Gonave Wesleyan Hospital and protection programming with primary partner schools. We support these schools through a child sponsorship program that strengthens the school’s operation with financial assistance, educational materials, and teacher training. One of the challenges faced in the last year in the child sponsorship program has been the internal displacement of many families due to gang violence. Families are forced to relocate to safer areas of the country and their children can no longer attend the World Hope partner school. This is particularly true in Cite Soleil, Canaan, and Babaco where the gangs rule the streets.
2022 has been the most difficult year for the child sponsorship program with several tragic events including a student and her mother being killed by a vehicle on their way home from the Lilavois school. Another student was killed by a stray bullet during an intergang conflict and a construction worker who was unloading cement on the street for ongoing work at the Cite Soleil school.
In the midst of all this tragedy the child sponsorship program has also enjoyed some remarkable success. The Canaan project has moved forward with new classrooms and a flood mitigation project that raises the level of the schoolyard above the flood plain in the rainy season. In Cite Soleil a new computer lab has been completed and work is being planned for a new sanitary block and water supply system for the school.
On a recent call with Director Daniel Bertrand, the CEO of the La Gonave Wesleyan Hospital, he was marveling at God’s amazing timing. At a time in the country when hospitals are closing because of the fuel shortage, the Wesleyan hospital is able to continue operation as a completely solar facility erasing a primary vulnerability. This year we are also able to address a second significant vulnerability by beginning the process to build an oxygen generation plant (a PSA) at the hospital. At present oxygen is unavailable in the country due to insecurity and difficulty in transport because of the fuel crises. Hopefully, we will soon be able to erase another significant risk factor for the hospital.
In February of 2022 our strategic partner Build Health International delivered a comprehensive master plan providing a roadmap for the future. To complete phase 1, World Hope needs to raise funds for:
- An O2 Generation Plant
- Increasing Electrical Capacity
- Increasing Lab Services
- Internet Improvements
- Building a Blood Bank
- Overhauling the Water Supply System
We are excited about this next chapter at La Gonave. Please pray as we continue forward.