Dangerous trains

By |16 March 2012|

Trains are the main means of transport used by migrants from Central America to cross Mexico and reach the border with the United States. But climbing onto their roofs or perching between two rail cars is a dangerous undertaking.
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    Caritas in Mexico: Standing alongside migrants who are hostage to violence

Caritas in Mexico: Standing alongside migrants who are hostage to violence

By |16 March 2012|

Criminal gangs are not the only danger that migrants must face. Private security forces responsible for the protection of trains and goods, and some representatives of the State (federal police, migration officers) also take part in exploiting the weakness of migrants.

Migrants risk all to cross from Mexico to the US

By |7 March 2012|

Human smuggling is a boom business according to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, with the profits in the billions (over $32 billion in 2005). Caritas Internationalis says that while every country has the right to regulate immigration, restrictive measures are simply encouraging people to resort to more dangerous and expensive channels of migration.

Responding to floods in Peru

By |26 January 2012|

Safe haven for migrants on Mexico border

By |16 January 2012|

Read in French or Spanish By Ryan Worms The journey escaping from poverty in Central America in search of prosperity in the United States and Canada is a dangerous one for the migrants who try their luck. More than 20,000 migrants are held by criminal gangs each year on the route. Theft, violence and sexual assault are all common events. These mostly young people have already come along way by the time they reach San Luis de Potosi in Mexico. They arrive by freight train. Beside the track is the House of Charity, where local Caritas Potosi staff offer them safe haven. The hostel relocated last year out of the town centre so the migrants didn’t have to face the gangs operating there.

Stopping Central America’s murder epidemic

By |11 January 2012|

With 82.1 murders for every 100,000 inhabitants, Honduras has now has more than eight times the average number of killings in the world.
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    In Haiti’s Port-au-Prince, Cordaid is helping communities to reinvent their neighbourhoods

In Haiti’s Port-au-Prince, Cordaid is helping communities to reinvent their neighbourhoods

By |23 December 2011|

Around 100 families like Bénisette's have benefited from Cordaid's assistance in rebuilding or repairing their houses. Henk Meijerink is head of the shelter building programme at Cordaid. "More than 2,000 families are affected in Villa Rosa.

Haiti two years after the earthquake

By |23 December 2011|

In Haiti, two years after the earthquake of 12 January 2010, Caritas Confederation members are keeping up their efforts to help the people affected by the disaster. The earthquake, measuring 7.0 on the Richter scale, caused 230,000 deaths and affected more than three million people by destroying up to 90% of infrastructures in the hardest hit areas. The generosity of people from around the world has enabled Caritas to set up dozens of projects that have played a part in rebuilding the country and improving the living conditions of Haiti's most disadvantaged people. After giving immediate assistance to the people affected by the earthquake (distribution of food, hygiene kits and essential items, as well as provision of temporary shelter), Caritas members have turned their attention to more long-term aid projects. Caritas members have intervened in various areas of activity. Of course, thousands of homes have been rebuilt, which as Caritas Haiti [...]

Rebuilding rural housing in Haiti

By |23 December 2011|

Cap Rouge, a small town in a remote rural area, is perched on a humid plateau around 10 kilometres from Jacmel, which is considered to be the major town in south-eastern Haiti. After the earthquake in January 2010, VEDEK, a farmers' organisation that is very active in the area, counted more than 500 damaged houses there, of which half had been completely destroyed. Therefore, VEDEK and PAPDA (Haitian Platform to Advocate Alternative Development) set up an extensive project to rebuild 100 houses and 20 cisterns in order to restore water access to affected households. The project was based on the expertise of CRAterre, an organisation specialising in the reconstruction and rehabilitation of traditional houses. Secours Catholique and CRaterre are joint signatories of a manifesto advocating the promotion of local building practices as a response to reconstruction programmes. A process of repairing and improving housing that incorporates local know-how and new construction [...]

Quenching the rice fields’ thirst in Haiti

By |23 December 2011|

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 [...]

Schools reopen in Haiti after 2010 Earthquake

By |23 December 2011|

"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. The [...]

Keeping cholera in check in Haiti

By |23 December 2011|

"When the cholera epidemic broke out in October 2010, we weren't prepared for it. We were unfamiliar with this disease, and during the first few weeks a large number of sick people came in to see us. Things weren't easy." Josèphe Gerda is the head of a small healthcare centre in the remote village of Brunette, in the province of Artibonite, in the diocese of Gonaïves in Haiti. Caritas Gonaïves runs nine clinics like this one and one hospital. The clinics are the only points of access to healthcare for people in the area. "At the height of the epidemic in November 2010, more than 20 sick people might show up on any one day," said Dr Renald Gédéon, head of the healthcare department at Caritas Gonaïves. Piard Jean Rico, project coordinator at Caritas Gonaïves, said, "At the outset, we weren’t aware it was cholera. We only knew it was a [...]
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    In southern Haiti mothers are at the heart of development strategy

In southern Haiti mothers are at the heart of development strategy

By |23 December 2011|

Food security, especially that of children, is a major problem in Haiti. Caritas has put in place various initiatives in the province of Les Cayes in southern Haiti to deal with this issue. With the help of CRS, the local Caritas has set up more than 200 mothers groups. What's a mothers group? "As the name suggests, it's a group of mothers from a particular district with whom local Caritas workers develop activities in order to improve families' food security and living conditions," explains Jean Harry Dominique, the CRS agricultural projects coordinator for the region. To get a better idea, we joined him on a field trip to Roche-à-Bateau. Mutual financial assistance "I'd like to set up a small business selling rice, flour an sugar. The last time I made a decent profit. I've asked for 1,000 gourdes (US$25) to buy products." Ariette Tessono is speaking. She belongs to a mothers group [...]

Healing trauma after Haiti’s earthquake

By |23 December 2011|

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 [...]

Haiti’s elderly get their zest back

By |15 November 2011|

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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