As our Programmes Manager in Haiti, Ailish O’Reilly, tells us, June saw a lot of activity for our projects in Haiti, as recovery programmes from last year’s hurricane come to a close and more local people join our literacy training. Take a look at all that went on…
The post-hurricane housing programme on Île à Vache moves into its eighth month of operation, and we are forward planning to its completion. The planning around the purchase of materials is more detailed to ensure we have the correct match of stock for requirements. We receive updates and photos on some vulnerable families in Les Cayes, a large town on the mainland, and they benefit from our help through our partner, Little Footprints Big Steps.
We visit a sample of houses and schools whose recovery is in progress or complete. In the parish of Ravine à Pierre, we meet one family whose house was completely destroyed. With the help of our programme, they have rebuilt their home and are getting ready to move back in. With four schools complete and another four underway, this programme will be fully closed in time for the new academic year in September.
With the mainland town of Cavaillon next on the list, the team is now getting a chance to help beyond their own community. There is one more day of house visits around Cavaillon, and it is easy to see the immediate needs. Back on the island, we also have eight participants in the post-hurricane replanting programme, so, with all this going on, the recovery process from last year’s hurricane is going strongly.
In Chache Lavi, we approve 11 new businesses, and Madame Saintalienne trains one participant in her embroidery products: Nadege will embroider table cloths, napkins and more for sale. Thanks to a donation from Friends of Île à Vache, we have some materials that are not so readily available in Les Cayes for both practice and final product.
Literacy training is a key component to accessing credit or opening a bank account in Haiti, as you must be able to sign your name. Nadine Raphael, Haven’s Community Development and Livelihoods Officer, coordinates with the Ministry of Education to start literacy programs on Île à Vache. 35 of our business women will enter the programme.
Our trainers are also receiving training on the administrative responsibilities of their roles. This month, the topic is “Communication”. This is interesting for me, as we discuss the non-verbal and cultural aspects of communication which are not the same in Haiti as they are in Ireland.
We have 14 participants waiting to enter our new enterprise programme, which is currently being developed. With a busy schedule for Haven through to October, we enter them into the Literacy and Reforestation programmes in the meantime. The training will provide them with a strong foundation for the new programme when it begins.
We meet with the Mayor of Île à Vache to provide updates on our progress across all of our programmes. The Mayor’s office has overall responsibility for the planning and development strategy for the whole island. Haven continuously works to build capacity and reinforce local government.
Professor Tom Lennon and two students from Massachusetts Maritime Academy (MMA) make a visit to Île à Vache to plan the logistics for their January project. MMA will bring a shipment of aid to Île à Vache on the marine training ship, HMS Kennedy. Eight students will then spend a week on the island implementing the project and learning about development work.
For those of you following student Sophie O’Sullivan’s time in Haiti, ye will know she has been spending time with us on the island, supporting our programmes there. We adopted her for the month of June and she worked across all our programmes, but we will let her tell you all about it in her upcoming blog! Suffice to say, we will miss Sophie on her return to Ireland.