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Aug 31, 2020

Important Work Continues!

Schools open once again!
Schools open once again!

 Although COVID-19 hasn't had the horrific impact in Haiti we'd anticipated, our preventative efforts definitely haven't gone to waste! We're continuing to take precautions and to help vulnerable families do the same. Having provided hand-washing stations, hygiene supplies and training to families in rural regions, we are now focusing on helping them with food security. In our Transitional Safehouses, we continue to take preventative measures such as hand-washing and limited access.

Every week, we purchase fresh vegetables, fruits and spices from the local market to use in our Transitional Safehouses. Since COVID-19 reached Haiti, we've been purchasing produce directly from parents who are in our small business program - which helps those parents generate an income during difficult times, while we get fresh organic produce without having to risk sending staff members to the crowded market place!

Local Social Services (IBESR) has started the process of documenting all children living in orphanages in Southern Haiti. This will assist in monitoring the quality of the orphanages, identifying those which urgently need to be closed, gathering data to facilitate future reunification of those children, and preventing trafficking. LFBS had committed to assisting with logistics in this endeavor, as we did previously in 2017/18.

As we began the documentation process, authorities discovered several new centres that had formed illegally after the 2018 law banning new orphanages in Haiti. They also discovered several orphanages that were so severely neglectful they needed to be shut down – immediately. LFBS assisted IBESR in emergency closures of two small orphanages. Fourteen of these children were placed in foster families. With your support, LFBS has been able to support them with medical care and other needs while their biological families are being traced. Nine children were placed in the LFBS Transitional Safehouses, and most have quickly been reunited with their biological families. THANK YOU for helping us ensure children are able to remain with their families.

With the closure of corrupt orphanages, there is an even greater need for local foster families when local authorities are unable to find children's biological families. These foster families are willing to take in children and care for them as their own - with no support promised by the government. Some of the children placed in foster families are severely handicapped, or are very young babies born in difficult circumstances (such as one 2 month old baby born in the local prison, whose mother has not yet been released). With your support, we can strengthen Haiti's foster family system - allowing separated children to be cared for in a family environment instead of in institutions. LFBS regularly follows up with foster families to make sure that the children's needs are being met. Many of the babies in foster care require support for baby formula and medical care. YOUR support allows us to continue to assist the local foster families during this difficult and critical time.

While Universities were closed due to COVID-19, our most advanced Agronomy student worked part-time with our team. This diligent student, and our Outreach staff, travelled to families to review the land they have available for gardening to ensure sustainable food security. Sometimes this meant several hours of hiking through mountains! We're so proud of our team and this young man for truly walking in the steps of vulnerable families in order to understand their reality, so that the support we provide will truly make a difference. Good work, team LFBS!

On August 17, many schools opened again in Haiti, trying to salvage the 2019/20 school year. Along with closures for COVID19 in March, schools were forces to close due to political unrest in the fall of 2019. We were able to continue private tutoring for children in our Transitional Safehouses and for some children who live with their families. Students are so excited and hopeful that they will be able to continue their education. Thank you for making that a possibility.

The local Civil Protection Unit provided hands-on training for the LFBS staff. The instruction and practice of the safe use of fire extinguishers and how to perform CPR on adults and children took place on the open area of the LFBS land under construction.

Further progress has been made on Phase 1 of the LFBS land development project! The septic field has been completed and the security gates have been completed and installed. Some of the crops planted on Phase 2 portion of the land have been harvested and will be used in the Transitional Safehouses as well as for distribution to families in our Outreach program.

We hope found this glimpse into just some of the activities that your interest, caring and support have made possible over the past three months – please with your friends, family and colleagues. Together we can continue to save, change and build lives and futures.

Produce from our local families!
Produce from our local families!
Children rescued from corrupt orphanage
Children rescued from corrupt orphanage
Agronomy student and LFBS staff
Agronomy student and LFBS staff
Staff CPR training
Staff CPR training
Septic Field Phase 1 complete!
Septic Field Phase 1 complete!

Links:

Aug 31, 2020

Important Work Continues!

Produce from our local families!
Produce from our local families!

AlthoughCOVID-19 hasn't had the horrific impact in Haiti we'd anticipated, our preventative efforts definitely haven't gone to waste! We're continuing to take precautions and to help vulnerable families do the same. Having provided hand-washing stations, hygiene supplies and training to families in rural regions, we are now focusing on helping them with food security. In our Transitional Safehouses, we continue to take preventative measures such as hand-washing and limited access.

Every week, we purchase fresh vegetables, fruits and spices from the local market to use in our Transitional Safehouses. Since COVID-19 reached Haiti, we've been purchasing produce directly from parents who are in our small business program - which helps those parents generate an income during difficult times, while we get fresh organic produce without having to risk sending staff members to the crowded market place!

Local Social Services (IBESR) has started the process of documenting all children living in orphanages in Southern Haiti. This will assist in monitoring the quality of the orphanages, identifying those which urgently need to be closed, gathering data to facilitate future reunification of those children, and preventing trafficking. LFBS had committed to assisting with logistics in this endeavor, as we did previously in 2017/18.

As we began the documentation process, authorities discovered several new centres that had formed illegally after the 2018 law banning new orphanages in Haiti. They also discovered several orphanages that were so severely neglectful they needed to be shut down – immediately. LFBS assisted IBESR in emergency closures of two small orphanages. Fourteen of these children were placed in foster families. With your support, LFBS has been able to support them with medical care and other needs while their biological families are being traced. Nine children were placed in the LFBS Transitional Safehouses, and most have quickly been reunited with their biological families. THANK YOU for helping us ensure children are able to remain with their families.

With the closure of corrupt orphanages, there is an even greater need for local foster families when local authorities are unable to find children's biological families. These foster families are willing to take in children and care for them as their own - with no support promised by the government. Some of the children placed in foster families are severely handicapped, or are very young babies born in difficult circumstances (such as one 2 month old baby born in the local prison, whose mother has not yet been released). With your support, we can strengthen Haiti's foster family system - allowing separated children to be cared for in a family environment instead of in institutions. LFBS regularly follows up with foster families to make sure that the children's needs are being met. Many of the babies in foster care require support for baby formula and medical care. YOUR support allows us to continue to assist the local foster families during this difficult and critical time.

Thanks to special support we were able to temporarily hire a senior medical student to provide medical evaluations for minors currently in the local prison. Of the 23 children he saw, over 80% had skin infections. Nearly 50% appeared to have urinary infections. Three need immediate intervention, including one boy who requires surgery. We hope to get these youth the medical care they need, while IBESR advocates with other authorities for the improvement of sanitary conditions within the children’s cell.

While Universities were closed due to COVID-19, our most advanced Agronomy student worked part-time with our team. This diligent student, and our Outreach staff, travelled to families to review the land they have available for gardening to ensure sustainable food security. Sometimes this meant several hours of hiking through mountains! We're so proud of our team and this young man for truly walking in the steps of vulnerable families in order to understand their reality, so that the support we provide will truly make a difference. Good work, team LFBS!

The local Civil Protection Unit provided hands-on training for the LFBS staff. The instruction and practice of the safe use of fire extinguishers and how to perform CPR on adults and children took place on the open area of the LFBS land under construction.

Further progress has been made on Phase 1 of the LFBS land development project! The septic field has been completed and the security gates have been completed and installed. Some of the crops planted on Phase 2 portion of the land have been harvested and will be used in the Transitional Safehouses as well as for distribution to families in our Outreach program. These projects have continued to provid opportunities for paying work and vocational skills practical applications. 

We hope you have found this glimpse into just some of the activities that your interest, caring and support have made possible over the past three months – please with your friends, family and colleagues. Together we can continue to save, change and build lives and futures.

Children rescued from corrupt orphange
Children rescued from corrupt orphange
Agronomy student and LFBS staff member
Agronomy student and LFBS staff member
LFBS Staff in CPR training
LFBS Staff in CPR training
Phase 1 Septic Field complete!
Phase 1 Septic Field complete!
Phase 2 area corn harvest
Phase 2 area corn harvest

Links:

Jun 8, 2020

Focused on CAN DO - thanks to YOU!

Agronomy student working with families
Agronomy student working with families

Responding to the realities of life in Haiti – the extreme poverty, malnutrition, lack of opportunity for education and medical care, slavery, homelessness – has become more complex with COVID19 and continued escalation of inflation. Like others world-wide, our core programs have refocused. Ensuring health awareness, food supply, Haitian staff well-being, and concentration on what will be needed and what we CAN DO – thanks to your continued support.

With a sigh of relief, our Head of Operations looks out over the land Little Footprints Big Steps has planted crops on near Les Cayes, Haiti. Last night’s rainfall was exactly what was needed to finish sowing the seeds that will soon provide peanuts, corn and plantains to distribute to vulnerable families. We have been able to provide practical experience to several University students studying agronomy in the planning and planting of these key crops. 

Back in the office, a sewing machine is being packed to deliver to a youth so that he can continue to practice his vocational training sewing skills and possibly generate income. One of the first things he did was to create child-sized masks to give to LFBS! These are perfect for the younger children in our Safehouses and for little children we accompany to the hospital.

We are also using this time to reinforce our team's capacity and effectiveness. A highly respected Haitian Child Protection Consultant with extensive experience and expertise has developed a training specifically for our staff. Two days a week, she works with our staff to teach and discuss modules related to Child Protection - Child Rights, Child Development, Child Protection System, Case Management, Juvenile Delinquency, Justice of Minors, Psycho-Social Support of Children. The staff will also be using this time to review and update all beneficiary files. A part-time Social Worker will be added to the staff to work witih them on the plans toward self-sufficiency specific to each family.

While Universities have closed due to COVID-19, this is an opportunity to hire our most advanced Agronomy student part-time! A welcome addition to our Outreach team, our Agronomist-in-training meets with each family to discover their experience, challenges, and potential and when it comes to planting food crops to increase nutirtional food security options for them and their community. He then develops an individualized plan for each family. Considering the frightening inflation and economic crisis Haiti has endured starting during last year's political unrest and continuing into this year's pandemic, we believe it's important to focus on sustainable food security options for these families, instead of keeping them reliant on food donations.

As much as possible, while keeping our Haitian staff safe, we continue regular connection with the vulnerable children and families in both local and remote areas is key to keep their capacity - and hope - developing. Before heading our, our team makes washing stations out of buckets and puts together hygiene kits and core food supplies to distribute. During the visits, they update file notes on the well-being of the children, activities the family is involved with and the progress of those involved in our Small Business program. Our nurse provides training about COVID-19, preventative measures families should take, and proper hand-washing techniques.

Thank you for your continued care and support as we focus on and strengthen the areas that we CAN DO. The number of lives you save and change continues to grow each day. Thank you for continuing to stand with us.

LINKS to the LFBS Annual Report and an informative news article about effects of COVID19 on Haitians are provided below. 

Core supplies delivered to families
Core supplies delivered to families
Sewing student made child-size masks!
Sewing student made child-size masks!
LFBS staff making washing stations
LFBS staff making washing stations
LFBS Nurse providing instruction
LFBS Nurse providing instruction

Links:

 
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