The generous support of SSNDs and their many students, staff and friends who contributed $40,000 to the province’s Hurricane Matthew Fund has been supporting 23 Haitian families (167 women, men, and children) in rural Haiti as they continue to recover from Hurricane Matthew.
Even before the storm, these families were among the poorest of the poor, struggling to meet their basic daily needs. Through your generosity, your care, and your concern, the SSND family is giving these families a path to a future, filled with dignity, hope, and opportunity.
As a reminder, these families come from two rural villages on Lagonav Island. Here are links to Google Maps where you can see each community:
Thank you for being present to the great need on Lagonav Island after the hurricane and for responding so quickly and generously. In your minds and hearts, you have absorbed the saying of Blessed Theresa Gerhardinger, SSND foundress, that, “Love Cannot Wait.”
May 2017 Update
It’s now been seven months since Matthew struck Haiti, and thanks to the SSND family, we can report on the progress that these 23 families are making in the areas of health, hunger, and economic livelihoods.
Your generosity and partnership in mission supports weekly visits for every family conducted by family life coaches. These coaches focus on training and reinforcement of critical topics ranging from nutrition, to health and sanitation, to small business management, to animal husbandry. Here’s an update on the progress that these families are making thanks to the generosity and partnership of the SSND family.
Along with rebuilding homes after the hurricane, Beyond Borders committed to ensuring that every family has proper sanitation. Nearly every destitute family that is being reached by this effort practiced open defecation because they lacked the means to construct even a simple latrine. Waterborne disease is a leading killer in Haiti, especially among children. So, a portion of your support is allowing us to dig and build a sanitary latrine for each family. The new latrines will greatly reduce the risk of contracting a gastrointestinal illness or a deadly bacterial disease like cholera.
Thanks to your sponsorship, these families attend weekly meetings conducted by Beyond Borders that cover a variety of health topics, including:
- Health care before and after birth
- Sanitation and latrines
- Signs and treatment of malnutrition
Hunger, which was a constant reality for these families before and immediately after the hurricane, is beginning to subside, thanks to your sponsorship. Each family continues to receive a weekly stipend to help ensure that they don’t go hungry.
Having a more secure income -- which we’ll talk about below -- allows each family to enjoy a greater variety of food and a more balanced overall diet. This leads to improved health, lower medical expenses and less time lost from school for their children.
Having begun with little or nothing after the storm, each of these families are working with their life coach to identify and track specific, achievable economic goals, such as developing savings to purchase and raise goats, or raising and selling piglets from a pregnant sow, for example, so that later they can invest in an animal of greater value, like a mule or a cow.
Building on economic success is a huge boost to a family’s self-confidence and self-esteem within their community. This self-confidence is a vital resource that will sustain them as they face future challenges.
Each family meets regularly with other sponsored families to allow them to encourage one another and to build bonds of solidarity that will help sustain them after they complete the program. Soon, these families will join a community-based collective savings group.
These collective savings groups not only promote solidarity among neighbors, but also provide each family with a greater measure of security that they never had before. It provides a resource in case of an emergency and helps families to increase their purchasing power to be able to invest in and grow their young businesses.
Through your generosity, your care, and your concern, the SSND family is giving these families a path to a future, filled with dignity, hope, and opportunity