Fednor, a farmer, is preparing what will soon be the main source of food for his family – a rice field. In Joque, in the province of Les Cayes, rice growing is the most common agricultural activity. The rice fields extend along each side of the road and provide a living for the majority of households in the area.
There’s no machinery here; everything is done by hand. Fednor is up to his knees in mud. Equipped with an old spade, he’s digging the rice field and hopes to see a crop growing soon that will enable him to feed his family and earn a little money.
He’s surrounded by other busy members of the community. Men and women are all working together on building a project that will change their lives. A break is arranged to meet the community and get an idea of what they’re doing.
“Without water there’s no […]
“When the school collapsed, what was essential was finding the children. The rest was just material,” said Sr. Josette Drouinaud of the Mère Delia Institute for primary and secondary school girls in the bustling Delmas neighbourhood of the Port-au-Prince.
When the earthquake of 12 January struck Haiti, the primary school crumbled. The students had finished classes for the day thankfully and none were inside the building. A flood of parents arrived at the collapsed school to make sure the Sisters had survived. “They were worried about us, as well,” she said.
Two years later, Development and Peace (Caritas Canada) is helping Sr. Drouinaud’s congregation rebuild a new school for a better future for the children.
By March, the primary school had managed to re-open by sharing space with the secondary school, improvising classes under trees in the schoolyard and eventually installing large tents that house up to 70 students at a time.
Some were trapped in rubble for hours. Other lost loved ones. Thousands saw their homes destroyed. For survivors of Haiti’s 2010 earthquake, grief and pain became constant companions. As Caritas raced to get families water, food, and shelter, its aid workers realized that mental health care was just as great a need.
“More than a year after the January 2010 earthquake, many Haitians still found it hard to enter buildings,” says Boris Budosan, Mental Health Advisor for Cordaid (Caritas Netherlands). In some cases, experiencing the terrifying earthquake led to more serious conditions such as severe depression and even psychoses. Stress and anxiety were widespread, sometimes leading to violence and drug or alcohol problems.
In Haiti, there is little specialized care available to help people vulnerable to mental health problems. Cordaid, which has worked in Haiti for years, stepped into the gap. It developed programmes that help both children and adults cope […]
Available in French and Spanish By Ryan Worms “Just a little while ago, it was very hard for me to find something to eat. I didn’t feel strong, I didn’t know what to do and had no one to help me. Now I’ve got my energy back,” said sixty-year-old Olivia Jean Louis. She is part of the Caritas Les Cayes Elders Assistance and Supervision Programme set up by Caritas Haiti in partnership with Caritas Spain. We’re in the diocese of Les Cayes in Laborde in the parish of St Vincent de Paul. Fr Aldagène Louisnel, head of the local Caritas, shows us round the house that has recently welcomed eight elderly women in dire circumstances. “We’ve settled the poorest of the community’s elderly in this house,” he said. “The new programme has been in place for two months. We can feed another 25 elderly people every day as a result. […]
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By Ryan Worms
Almost two years on from the earthquake of 12 January 2010, more than 600,000 people are still displaced in camps. They live in extremely precarious conditions and their health security is at risk.
Three dioceses were particularly affected by the earthquake: Port-au-Prince, Jacmel and Anse-à-Veau/Miragoâne. In certain areas more than 90 percent of the houses were destroyed.
Duval is a village set in the hills above Port-au-Prince, one hour’s drive from the capital. Bernard and his family live in this area. His wife Marie Gerta St Hilaire recalls 12 January 2010: “When the ground started to shake I panicked. I asked my husband to come and help me, but he could barely stand up. When we were able to get back to our house, it wasn’t there anymore. Everything had been destroyed, and there was devastation everywhere. After a while, we moved into a shack […]
Jour férié à Port au Prince. Aujourd’hui, la ville commémore ses morts, nous sommes le 2 novembre.
La première visite que le chauffeur de Caritas Haïti me propose est à la cathédrale de la ville. Ce bâtiment imposant a été détruit lors du séisme du 12 janvier 2010. Il ne reste que certaines parties de la structure qui laisse imaginer la splendeur passée de la bâtisse. La façade est magnifique, quelques vitraux sont toujours perchés tout comme une des cloches que l’on aperçoit en haut d’une tour encore debout.
Lorsque vous pénétrez à l’intérieur, vous ne pouvez pas échapper à une étrange émotion. Le recueillement est de mise, la prière aussi. Ici, plus d’une centaine de personnes ont trouvé la mort. Lorsque la terre s’est mise à trembler, elles chantaient des louanges, faisaient monter leurs voix vers le ciel, la chorale majeure de Port au Prince était en pleine répétition.
De l’autre […]
By Ryan Worms
On this Saturday 5 November the people of Trianon are celebrating. Today the Caritas Hinche – Trianon health centre is being inaugurated, a major event for this small community from the Central Plateau region in Haiti.
From now on, the people of Trianon and neighbouring districts will no longer have to make a journey that can take more than three days to access healthcare. In this new health centre they will be able to get vaccinations and medical attention 7 days a week, 24 hours a day. Women will be able to benefit from prenatal care and professional support during childbirth. A hospital ward will also be able to admit and treat the most urgent cases for a short period before transferring them to larger hospitals if necessary.
“Caritas is above all the strength of the community”
Early in the morning the entire Trianon community got ready to welcome the […]
There is a long-term answer to alleviating poverty: helping people build up resilient livelihoods. Secours Catholique, the French national Caritas, worked with local people to improve their food production, supporting the most vulnerable with food rations so they did not fall back on eating seed stocks. Through food-for-work programmes in Les Cayes in southern Haiti, Secours Catholique helped communities to build flood defences. Now, extreme weather will not carry off their crops, as it has done in other years.
A sustainable and safer future has also been the focus in rebuilding houses. “It’s all different now.We are a lot more careful when we build,” said LucienWilner, a carpenter trained and employed by Cordaid, the Caritas member from the Netherlands. “Before the earthquake we did not build in this way, but now we won’t get so many people dying.” Lucien is part of a programme to tackle Haiti’s 50 percent unemployment […]
Other Caritas programmes in Haiti are tackling the longer-term problem of the poverty trap while at the same time helping people get back on their feet after the tragedy of January 2010. Caritas Slovakia noticed that local businesswomen were struggling to keep their enterprises afloat after the earthquake. So many Haitians were hard up they couldn’t afford to buy things like clothes in the markets so the women stallholders were about to go bust.
Caritas Slovakia launched a micro-finance programme, “Mothers of the Market”, in June, starting with 20 women. The women were given business training to complement the practical experience they already had and a one-off grant of $500. Another 30 women began training in October. One of them is Daphney Nozan, a 26-year-old single mother with a seven-year-old daughter. Daphne’s clothes stall was failing but began to prosper again after the training: she made a clever switch to […]
The fragility of Haiti, the poorest country in the Western hemisphere, was all too clear. The earth convulsed and down tumbled the weak homes, schools and hospitals. More than 230,000 people were killed by the earthquake and over three million affected, in the slum-plagued capital, Port-au-Prince, nearby towns like Jacmel and Léogâne and elsewhere. The 12 January brought one of the biggest disasters in recent times to the people of Haiti.
Caritas’s long-term presence meant it could respond to the emergency right away. Caritas Haiti has a strong national network, with 10 offices in dioceses across the country. Other Caritas members like Catholic Relief Services from the USA and Caritas Switzerland are well established in Haiti. Just across the border, Caritas Dominican Republic helped quickly set up an emergency relief pipeline.
Near neighbour Caritas Mexico immediately sent three nuns who were qualified nurses and a search and rescue team who pulled […]
Caritas’s humanitarian experience had helped it recognise that crowded camps, with limited clean water and poor sanitation, were the perfect combination for another brewing disaster: a cholera outbreak.
Caritas had begun distributing soap and building stand pipes and latrines as soon as possible after the earthquake. “For some people, it is the first time they have proper access to water,” said Yves-Marie Almazor of Catholic Relief Services (CRS). But it wasn’t enough to stop the cholera time bomb going off in October; by the time it was brought under control, 100,000 Haitians had fallen ill and 2,300 had died.
Again, Caritas’s seasoned presence on the ground enabled it to act fast. In the first 48 hours of the outbreak, Caritas Haiti in Gonaïves gave out over 170,000 water purification tablets, hand disinfectants, rehydration salts and antibiotics.
In hard-hit Artibonite, CRS delivered hospital beds for patients who otherwise lay on the ground. Staff […]
Read in French or Spanish Homily of Cardinal Robert Sarah, President of Pontifical Council Cor Unum Port-au-Prince, Haiti (Hebrews 2:14-18; Psalms 105:1-2, 3-4, 8-9; Mark 1:29-39) Cher tout people Haïtien: Moin poté la pé ak Ké Kontan Gran Mèt la pou nou. Dear Haitian people, I bring you the peace and joy of the Lord. Exactly one year after the devastating earthquake that struck this dear country of Haiti, I come to you on behalf of the Holy Father. Through my presence, Pope Benedict XVI wishes to demonstrate his nearness to you. We are still in mourning for thousands of people who were dear to us: children, parents, brothers and sisters, as well as priests, religious and seminarians, including our Father and Brother, Monsignor Joseph Serge Miot, Archbishop of Port-au-Prince. All of these victims loved life just as much as we do. They lost it full of fear and in great […]