In Grand Anse area...after the hurricane
Entering our SIXTH YEAR, and following the devastating aftermath of Hurricane Matthew and the ensuing floods in Haiti’s southern peninsula that I updated you on in October, we are able to provide you with news of the brilliant resilience of the Haitian people and of Little Footprints Big Steps work and progress that you are making possible.
Due to the deep connections and relationships with local leaders and Haitian Government, and as respected members of the Groupe du Travail pour la Protection des Enfants and Civil Protection Committee, we continue to make a marked impact on the present and future of the 250 plus children and their families that we have reunited over the past five years. Those families live in 23 communities across Haiti, most in the affected area. Because of these working collaborations, Little Footprints Big Steps staff were able to complete thorough needs assessments and evaluations on all of the children and families in our programs across the southern peninsula within days. Through these partnerships and the additional temporary professional staff we have hired, we are able to ensure aid is provided effectively and in a culturally sensitive and suitable manner and providing assistance to prevent abandonment of children and including initiatives that continue to support LFBS core mandate of sustainability and independence such as agriculture re-stabilization, outreach medical clinics and workshops, etc. The agronomist has also trained our Youth Leaders (rescued and reunited with their families over the past years) to provide training and follow-up in their communities!! Sustainable capacity development, skills training and mentorship in action. Photo below.
Along with emergency supplies, cholera prevention, water, sanitary supplies - we have provided hand tools and seeds to aid in the clean-up and replanting. The additional temporary staff includes doctors, agronomist, hospital outreach agent, security, and driver. This also means additional first hand opportunities for our youth leaders to be involved assisting! One young boy was abandoned to the hospital – with two bullets in his head. Through our consistent work with Haiti Social Services (IBESR), they thought to notify us and we were able to provide immediate care. He has had one bullet, and his eye, removed and has been discharged into our care as we review options for further medical intervention, reunification with his family and schooling. Photos below show one of our Youth Leaders, Eluxson proudly displaying his certificates...AND ... providing tutoring at the Transitional Safehouse.
Key and strategic in our work and partnerships is to ensure mistakes made following 2010 earthquake are not made once again. This is critical with regards to provision and distribution of aid intervention to avoid building dependency. We must pro-actively provide the tools and supplies for livelihood and food security, while also providing emergency support. Haitians must be involved in rebuilding efforts - utilizing local networks and requesting input from families about their needs to ensure sustainability and effectiveness of support provided. “Haitians need to be treated not just as victims or survivors but experts and leaders.”, a quote from author and educator, Mark Schuller. Keeping families together and monitoring orphanages to prevent abandonment of children into orphanages or Restavek situations is critical and we are collaborating with our new partners in LUMOS Organization to ensure this does not occur. Focus on community development will also prevent centralization and encourage self-sufficiency and sustainability.
A Princeton TV interview, featuring Morgan and the Vice Consul at the Haitian Consulate in New York provides some insights into Haiti’s culture and socio-economics, shows how clearly Little Footprints Big Steps work and objectives are respected. Part 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IJOiVaaOrr0&feature=youtu.be
Part 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aU3aRoCqjlE&feature=youtu.be
Ensuring students and public had the opportunity to hear a first-hand account of the actual situation before, during and after the hurricane, Little Footprint’s co-founder and Head of Haiti Operations, Morgan Wienberg, traveled briefly out of Haiti to provide accurate and inspiring in-person accounts and media interviews. Continuing the learning and sharing, she is briefly in Belfast, Ireland speaking at and attending a learning event with new partners LUMOS Organization (founded by J.K. Rowling).
This is just a quick peek into what YOU have made possible! THANK you for being such an amazing catalyst … for both survival and for a future! <3
Youth Leader providing training in his village
Little Footprints Medical Outreach Clinic
Rubinson post-surgery removing bullet and eye
Hard work, certificates, and pride of achievement!
Youth Leader tutoring at Transitional Safehouse