A big “thank you” to all those who attended our most recent information sessions! We’ve received great feedback from participants and invite you to read about the information covered in the sessions.
As you've likely read in our emails over the past two months, and in recent news from the region, it is an understatement to say there is currently considerable turmoil and adversity in Haiti. We’ve experienced earthquakes, hurricanes, political unrest, school closures, fuel shortages and kidnappings, all within just the last few months! It seems like the only certainty in the region is uncertainty. But thanks to your support, Overture International and ESPWA are on the ground making an impact on housing, education, social support, economic development and so much more.
This end of year campaign is a bit broader than a typical fundraising campaign. Our goal is to help you better understand the challenges that families and communities face every day in Haiti. And, to provide insights into our strategies that create a sustainable Social Support model that we believe will put families and communities on the path to long-term success.
Living in extreme poverty is bad enough, but when combined with violence, natural disasters, and a broken government system, the communities where families should be able to turn to for support, instead find a lack of resources to meet even their basic needs.
Overture believes that providing communities with infrastructure and resources to expand their capacity to strengthen families is the key to making Haiti Stronger. This is why we are focusing our year end campaign on empowering 10 priority communities with a model of social support programs that replicate a very basic system of social services that we have available in the US. These basic Social Services offered by our government are not available to Haitian families.
With all of these challenges our friends in Haiti are facing, it is likely that many of our supporters have questions about the status of our work, our people and our progress. As part of our commitment to keep you informed about the status of our work and on broader issues related to our communities, we’d like to take this opportunity to answer a few questions we’ve heard.
What is the progress of our earthquake recovery efforts and how is that helping build Haiti Stronger?
We’ve completed ESPWA campus priority repairs, including the school, administration building, storage buildings and security wall. Work continues on the medical clinic.
At Camp Perrin we have completed rebuilding the school classrooms and the admin office that were destroyed by the earthquake. We’ve built two new classrooms to expand capacity to accommodate 350 students through ninth grade, an increase of 50 students.
Our crews are assisting 50 families in repairing their homes across the region
We have broken ground on 12 homes and have secured funding for 91 more!
We have re-opened the ESPWA clinic and have started a weekly rotation of Mobile Healthcare Clinics in our 10 priority communities.
What is the state of the Haiti educational system, the students and teachers with whom we work and why Education means Life in Haiti?
We’ve held teacher training for 125 community members to serve four schools to help them address issues of trauma associated with the earthquake, focused learning and how to educate even in the midst of school closures and crises.
We’ve launched school lunch program for the new school year for those attending school and continuing to provide community meal support where they have not.
Education means Life in Haiti, that’s why we invest so much of our time, attention and resources on building, supporting and expanding educational opportunities for the communities we serve. Where there is education, there is opportunity, access and a life with hope and promise.
What do the recent kidnappings and increased insecurities in Haiti mean for Overture, Espwa and the communities we serve?
Haiti continues to deteriorate and will most likely continue to do so as gangs are allowed to expand their territory and influence. The government is powerless to provide security.
Even with gang activity, goods and services flow to some extent…Overture is positioned to take advantage whenever goods or fuel make it to the south.
There are great challenges in the current environment. Most aid agencies have pulled out waiting for the security situation to improve.
Kidnappings are still prevalent in the region. And it is likely to continue because of the success they’ve had in securing ransom and the gangs are getting stronger because of the absence of structure and opportunity. Unfortunately, the group of missionaries are still being held captive and we hope that everyone joins us in our continued prayers for their safe return.
So, what are we doing to continue operating safely in this environment?
While there is violence across Haiti, thankfully, our more rural communities are not as impacted by it as the larger towns. It does impact access to fuel, medical supplies, and other critical resources. So, our focus is on ensuring our communities have access to materials and resources to continue their work.
Overture is partnering with the few like-minded aid agencies that remain throughout the Sud Department by sharing information, working jointly on community problems and pooling intelligence.
Because we employ local community members, and are not reliant on imported teams, we’re able to continue the work we do. Our people are the community members, who are motivated and committed to making their communities stronger.
Our commitment is to continue to work in spite of the threats and not get distracted by gangs, violence or political unrest.
Our programs are making a difference and preparing families to become more self-sustaining while addressing the needs of their children (safety, food security, education).
To learn more about the violence and other issues impacting the region you can learn more in articles like this one featuring Overture’s executive director, Lisa Hyatt.
Together we can build Haiti Stronger!!
While we understand all of these seemingly insurmountable challenges can be overwhelming, thanks to your support we are making a difference in changing the trajectory of families and communities! But we’re truly just scratching the surface of what we can do in southern Haiti and beyond.
With your continued support we can expand our proven Social Support model into 10 of the most vulnerable communities we serve. When you give today, you are truly playing a major role in making Haiti Stronger!!