Eighty percent of Haiti’s population lives below the poverty line, making it the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere. This abject poverty, along with low levels of education and an often unstable government offer little in the way of hope to its nearly ten million inhabitants. The 7.0 magnitude earthquake that shook this tiny country in January of 2010, nearly destroying its capital city of Port-au-Prince, and the late season Hurricane Tomas that flooded the tent cities resulting from the earthquake that same year, further eroded an already listless economy.
Over the past several years, ProJecto has been able to offer assistance to some of the most disadvantaged Haitian villages in the form of food, clothing and school supplies. In the village of Fond Parisien, not far from the Dominican border, we entered into an alliance with Love A Child, a ministry founded in Fort Myers, Florida by Bobby and Sherry Burnette. Love A Child has expanded its outreach to Haiti, where the Burnettes have lived since 1991, and the Dominican Republic. Thanks to the generosity of our donors, we were able to deliver clothing and shoes, items for which there is a critical need. We are also striving to provide medical supplies to their Jesus Healing Center, a clinic that is staffed with some of the most talented medical professionals in Haiti.
ProJecto is attempting to bring to the forefront the plight of Haitian migrants who cross the border into the Dominican Republic to seek employment during the sugar harvest. For decades, these seasonal immigrants have lived in the company towns known as bateyes. Bateyes are the camps that are run by the mill operators to house the male Haitian workers. Their living quarters are typically run-down and poorly maintained shacks. Overall conditions are deplorable at best. Basic services such as running water and electric power are often not provided either by the mill owners or the Dominican government. Sanitary facilities are minimal. Now, Haitian women are joining the ranks of the migrant workers as well. As a result, the presence of families has become more common in the bateyes, with children living in the same wretched conditions. And those children are not provided medical attention or an education.
At ProJecto we have a vision for Haiti, the essence of which is to see a day when Haitians are liberated from their suffering and despair to live more productive and healthier lives. We believe nothing is impossible. With the generosity of donors like you, the support of our partners and God’s guidance, our efforts toward this vision will continue.