Report on Hurricane Matthew Funds Collected by the SSND Atlantic-Midwest Province

Haitian families supported by SSND

One-hundred-sixty-seven Haitians in 23 families are benefitting from the generosity of the SSNDs and their many students, staff and friends who contributed $40,000 to the province’s Hurricane Matthew Fund. The families live in two communities, Matènwa and Masikren, on the island of LaGonave, where they have always struggled to meet their basic daily needs, even before the storm.

Many lost livestock, a principle asset in rural Haiti. Damage to their already vulnerable homes was extensive. With no crops to sell, such destitute conditions made the payment of school fees for their children impossible.

The danger that children would be sent away to work for families and become domestic slaves, called Restaveks, was greatly increased.

Even before the hurricane, 15 of the 23 families lived without any toilet or latrine whatsoever. One family of 13 lived in a two-room house with a dirt floor, walls made of wood or rock, and a tin roof. Most received little or no support and the support of the SSND community will help ensure now that these families are on a path to self-sufficiency.

Thanks to the incredible fundraising by SSND, these families are being offered not only recovery from the storm, but are being lifted out of the extreme poverty that left them so vulnerable. They are now assured that they will have decent housing, clean water and sanitation, access to healthcare, the ability to build at least two or three forms of income from livestock or commerce, and best of all, the possibility of keeping all their school-age children in school and free from domestic servitude.

All of these improvements will give these families a path to a much brighter future filled with dignity, hope and opportunity. Through the generosity of so many, the sad comment of Freda Catheus, a fellow Haitian, will no longer be true, “The littlest had the least, and they lost it all.”

These are two group photos of the heads-of-household in the two communities where SSND is sponsoring families: Matènwa and Masikren.

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