Thank you from all of us at International Action in DC and in Haiti for your help and support over the years. Together, we are really making a difference in Haiti and I’m very proud to be a part of it.
We have done so much, helping 380,000 people with every day access to clean, safe water, but I have to ask for your help again. We need your help to begin a vital, new project: The revitalization of the water stations in Haiti’s poorest neighborhood, Cite Soleil.
1) A Brief Summary of the Situation in Cite Soleil -- Cite Soleil is one of the most misunderstood and neglected communities in Haiti. Most of the residents are families that are stuck in the cycle of poverty in large part because of where they live. Unfortunately, Cite Soleil is known for its gang violence, though this violence does not define the vast majority of the community. Because of this reputation there are many people and institutions that overlook Cite Soleil as they presume any improvements will be short-lived. The community believes in itself. They belief that they will succeed if given the chance to. It is our duty to give the people of Cite Soleil this chance.
2) Our New Project in Cite Soleil -- We have worked in Cite Soleil for many years, having installed eight chlorinators on government built water stations. Time, lack of resources and spurts of vandalism has caused many of these water stations to fall into disrepair with no plans from the government to rebuild. But the people will not give up. After talking with the community leaders of Cite Soleil we have decided to take action and fix the eight water stations, while installing a new chlorinator on a ninth. We need $46,000 to install the new pipes, concrete and protective coverings to provide clean, safe water to 11,500 of the most disadvantaged and forgotten people in the Western Hemisphere.
After these improvements are made and the people of Cite Soleil have consistent, ever day access to clean, safe water, they will be able to connect with our sustainability focused Chlorine Distribution Center. The whole point of this system is sustainability; communities transport and deliver the chlorine they need with their own resources, making the operation of the chlorinators completely sustainable. Once Cite Soleil has access to this system the people will not have to hope that someone will come and help them. They will be able to ensure that they have clean, safe water on their own.
With your support we can really make a difference for the people of Cite Soleil, for people like Lindsay (photo 1).
Lindsay wants to be an artist, making beautifully colorful Haitian birds out of metal and paint. Too much of her time, however, is spent making sure her family has safe water to drink. She spends 20 hours per week collecting water from a clinic over a mile away from her home – even though there is a community water station two minutes from her home. The water station by her home leaks, and rarely works. When it is working, women and children line up and wait for hours as the water slowly pours out of one working tap (photo 2). Lindsay, like many of her neighbors, spends half of a normal working week collecting water instead of pursuing her dreams or doing the things she loves. This needs to change.
With your help, we can help people like Lindsay realize that they have not been forgotten, that there are people who care for them, and that they can be in control of their own lives. Let’s start with the water that they drink, clean and bathe with every day. Please do take the time to look through the three pictures attached and the comparison of a thriving water station in another Port-au-Prince community to the ones in Cite Soleil. Thank you, again, for your continued support!
We urgently need your help again. Please continue to support us in providing sustainable access to clean water for Haitian families in need. After a tragic year in which two of our friends and colleagues at International Action have dealt with life-changing health concerns, we are ready for a year of hope and prosperity.
Your support has enabled us to provide 380,000 individuals in Haiti with clean, safe water for years to come.
But we are determined to do more. Despite the adversity we have faced this past year, we have made some excellent progress in bringing our Haitian friends sustainable access to clean water. We need your assistance in moving forward our two most important projects:
1.) We have recently installed chlorinators, water pumps, and water tanks in the Artibonite Region of Haiti. They are providing 80,000 people with clean, safe water. To enable 30,000 more Haitians to gain access to clean water in the region, we need your help rebuilding three wells. It will cost $12,400 to fix the wells with concrete and steel
2.) The construction plans for the Chlorine Distribution Center are complete -- the system by which communities purchase and transport the chlorine they need with their own resources. Furthermore, the elected community representatives have been trained and are excited to begin. We now need to provide the Center with a year’s worth of start-up chlorine and prepare for a year-end evaluation. The evaluation is vital as it will enable Haiti’s governmental water agency to actively fund the Chlorine Distribution Center, further ensuring its sustainability. We need your support to purchase the $40,000 of chlorine we need and the $6,000 we need for the evaluation.
The most important aspect about both of the projects is that they are community-created and eventually will be completely community-operated. In both cases, leaders in the neighborhoods came to us seeking help. They want their access to clean, safe water to be completely in their hands after our help with design and installation is finished. They want to be self-sustainable. To be able to see the empowered, determined attitudes that our friends in Haiti have is a gift that I want to share, so let me tell you about Angie.
Angie, a resident of Haute Feuille in the Artibonite region, is 17 and has aspirations to be teacher and a comedian. She is quite a hit at her school. Before her town leaders came to us asking us to install chlorinators, Angie and her family used small chlorine tablets to treat the water, given to them by a another small non-profit. They were protected from waterborne diseases.
However, Angie was overjoyed when she heard about the chlorinators and that the community itself would be in charge of maintaining, operating and sustaining the clean water systems. She was excited because she knew that at any time the non-profit that had been providing the small chlorine tablets could leave and her family would be without clean water. It had happened before. She knew that the chlorinators were different. She knew that the success of the chlorinators was going to be dependent on her and her neighbors, not an outside group. The smile on her face in the picture attached to this letter shows how empowered and happy Angie feels now, a sentiment that many of her neighbors now share.
The desire that Angie and her fellow Haitians have, to be in control of one’s own access to clean, safe water, is what drives us at International Action. We have had a challenging year with two of our top staff becoming ill and understandably needing to leave the group to focus on their own health. It has been tough personally and professionally. But we are committed to Haiti for years to come, and will continue to help the Chlorine Distribution Center flourish and provide Haitians communities with access to clean water. Your support is essential to us achieving these goals faster and effectively, and it is most appreciated!
Attached are pictures from the communities we work with in the Artibonite region as well as a showcase of the Chlorine Distribution Center.
All the Best,
Zach Brehmer, Executive Director
This past July we finished an installation in a small town of Fabias in Saint Marc. We were contacted by a local church in Hagerstown, MD to help bring clean water to a school that they sponsor in Fabias. We were inclined to help because this was near the area where the chlorea outbreak first appeared. We made a site visit to access how we could help them and we went back and did an installation of a 2,000 gallons reservoir and chlorinator which are fully functional. Water from the well is pumped up twice a day to fill the reservoir. There are 3 spigots that are accessible in the schoolyard and 3 spigots that are outside the school fence for the general population.
Following the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, there have been nearly 700,000 reported cases of cholera and over 8,000 deaths, with an estimated 1,000 more each year until water sanitation has improved. International Action’s immediate response entailed tackling the problem at the source of the outbreak, the Artibonite departement in northern Haiti. We first met with Haitian water department officials and partners to strategize a coordinated solution to the spreading epidemic. This potentially fatal waterborne disease can easily be prevented and treated with proper sanitation and access to clean water. We have dedicated ourselves to supplying and installing multiple chlorinators and water tanks throughout Artibonite and distributing chlorine tablets to organizations addressing the public health crisis.
Recently, we established a new site in Fabias that was featured on CNN International. Located in Artibonite, a rural area outside of Port-au-Prince, Fabias is isolated with very limited water resources. Up until now they have had only one well with a hand-pump. Many provincial villages do not receive as much aid as the cities, so it was especially important for us to reach this region. Our Associate Director was able to witness the delivery and installation of the first water tank in the community by the Presbytérale School of St. Francis of Assisi, with two other tanks having been installed since then. The people of Fabias were very welcoming and were instrumental in the accomplishment of this project.
International Action is looking to continue these efforts in other provincial areas and we already have plans to install a new clean water system with a tank, chlorinator and pump in the rural areas of Chapelle Saint Joseph and Poste Pierrot.
We rely on the help of generous donors, so please support our cause by making a small contribution.
For the past four years, Haiti has been trapped in a horrible cholera epidemic, one that has been labeled the worst cholera epidemic in recent history. This epidemic has already claimed around 8,300 lives and has infected hundreds of thousands more. But, how did this all start? Cholera is spread through infected human waste; in this case, it started with waste from a UN Peacekeeping camp that entered the water supply. When this happened, anyone who came into contact with the water supply was at risk of contracting cholera. All of this is exacerbated in a country like Haiti where public hygiene, sanitation, waste management, and proper sewage disposal are almost nonexistent. This disease spreads exceptionally fast and can kill within hours if not diagnosed. Because of this, it is extremely difficult to contain and remains a huge threat to Haitians.
However, there are things that can be done to try to contain the spread of cholera. The most important action to take is to ensure that the water supply is clean and kept separate from any human waste. With these objectives in mind, International Action is committed to preventing the spread of cholera by providing clean water to the people of Haiti. We do this by using cheap, sustainable, and effective chlorinators to decontaminate the water so that people may drink it without fear of becoming infected. These chlorinators are long term solutions that we are hoping to make even more sustainable by creating a system that allows the maintenance of these chlorinators to be community led. Already, we have brought clean water to over 300,000 Haitians who are now able to go to school or work on a regular basis because they are not constantly ill. It is our hope that by bringing an uncontaminated water supply to Haiti, we can help eradicate cholera in that area.
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