Last week, I was with a World Help team in Haiti, a nation still recovering from the devastating earthquake of January 2010. This natural disaster has produced some of the most complex and debilitating circumstances for a country already struggling under the weight of intense social and economic poverty. Haiti is a place where help has come and gone and where rebuilding is slow, frustrating, and tedious.
Since the earthquake, World Help has been actively working in Haiti, providing $27 million of initial emergency assistance for thousands of men, women, and children left with nothing but piles of smoldering rubble . . . but our work has not stopped there.
When I was in Haiti only a few days after the earthquake, I knew that World Help’s response to this disaster must be strategic and involve rebuilding for the future. Our work in Haiti is not a temporary handout, it’s a commitment. Although immediate needs like food, water, and shelter are vital for the first stages of any disaster, long-term solutions are equally necessary to provide sustainability, dignity, and lasting hope.
While in Haiti last week, our team visited with hundreds of orphans we are supporting through Danita’s Children, and we were able to see the progress on a new clean-water system that is underway. This project alone has the potential to revolutionize the on-going effects of waterborne illnesses and disease on children at Danita’s and in the surrounding community for years to come.
I am proud to say that in a few short months, a state-of-the-art medical facility, currently in the final stages of construction, will be opened in northern Haiti, giving first-class medical attention to thousands every year. In a place where medical care is nearly impossible to access, this clinic will be a refuge for the sick, the desperate, and the dying.
After meeting with several representatives and cabinet members from the Haitian Government, I had the honor and privilege of meeting with the President of Haiti, Michel Martelly, and the First Lady, Sophia. President Martelly graciously thanked World Help for our assistance in Haiti and I was deeply encouraged by his vision for the future.
At the end of our meeting, I was able to present the President with a Bible as a gift of my appreciation. As he turned to leave, he stopped, looked back at me and said, “Please pray for Haiti.” I promised him that I would, and that World Help would remain committed in our strategy to help rebuild his country.
Looking forward, I believe World Help has a very crucial role to play as we partner with the Haitian people. The Director of Social Affairs told me that the greatest need in Haiti is for medical clinics, and more specifically, for mobile emergency clinics that can travel to reach people in their own neighborhoods.
With hundreds of thousands displaced and still living in tent cities, and with medical facilities few and far between, mobile clinics present one of the most effective strategies for providing immediate health care.
For as little as $150,000, we can provide a mobile clinic that will administer emergency services, vaccinations, and other life-saving medical procedures. What an incredible opportunity!
This Christmas, please join me in praying for Haiti. Pray for the government and the leadership of President Martelly. Pray for the thousands of people suffering from preventable diseases and the continued effects of poverty. And please, pray for World Help as we seek to invest in rebuilding Haiti from the inside out.
I believe God is able to restore hope in Haiti, and you and I have a special part to play.