Members of local grassroots organizations throughout Haiti have been working hard to reach a semblance of normalcy post-quake. In efforts to help survivors displaced by the earthquake start again, Lambi Fund has provided a number of valuable training workshops. Some of these training sessions include:
Trainings like these help provide members of communities in rural Haiti with the knowledge and know-how to manage and operate effective business ventures that improve livelihoods and create sources of income.
The St. Martin Youth Association for Community Development (AJSDC) is a vibrant local organization in the Artibonite Valley of Haiti. This fertile region produces the majority of Haiti's rice and AJSDC has just opened a community grain mill to support these agricultural efforts.
Years of hard work and community cooperation has gone into making this grain mill a reality. The group, who formed nearly 20 years ago and has 305 members, has been working together on sustainable development projects for quite some time, but this is by far their largest undertaking. AJSDC finds strength in its diversity.
A good chunk of its members have been with the group since its inception — they provide valuable leadership and wisdom, while a flood of new members infuse AJSDC with youth, vitality and energetic plans for the future. AJSDC's ability to engage the youth has directly strengthened the local organization and revitalized its efforts in community development.
The grain mill opening was a jubilant affair. Men, women and children came wearing their finest clothing. Hundreds of community members were in attendance. It was clear by the excitement and pride in the air that this was much more than the opening of a grain mill - it was a celebration of years of hard work and the countless possibilities for the future.
It was a meticulously planned program, with cultural components sprinkled throughout, with singing, dancing, speeches, a play and two skits. The older, more senior members opened the ceremony and spoke first about the organization, its history and the work they have done to improve the community. Newer and younger members then spoke about their vision and joy in making the grain mill a reality.
The president of AJSDC, Wilner Pierre Louis, proudly declared, "With the opening of this mill, we can be the masters of our own destiny." He rejoiced in explaining how this mill will allow members to mill their own grains. No more will community members need to walk long distances for milling services. No more will they have to pay exorbitant milling fees. Milling services at this community mill will be at an affordable price and of high quality.
The mill is also a place to prepare and store seeds thanks to a large storage room. This small detail will allow members to save seeds for the next planting season and to achieve higher levels of economic security.
The woman [pictured right] was dancing about ecstatically throughout the ceremony because as she exclaimed, "I am so happy not to have to walk far [to have my grains milled] and the kids can go to school now because they will not have to help transporting the grains."
Members worked hard to ensure that the grain mill meets all of their needs. Along with a motorized tiller, storage rooms and space to prepare the grains, the organization is building latrines near the building. There is also access to water which assists in running the mill and providing clean drinking water.
While members fastidiously thanked the Lambi Fund of Haiti for its assistance in making this mill a reality, Lambi Fund staff could only respond with the utmost respect and gratitude for the hard work and resilience these members have shown in the last year. Staff members thanked them for their perseverance, strength and unity as they have moved forward after the earthquake.
Lambi Fund's new Executive Director, Marie Saint Cyr, attended the meeting and congratulated AJSDC members and the project committee for their long-term collaboration with Lambi Fund as the community works to realize its hopes and dreams. This building is more than just a building and more than a mill, it is a symbol of community strength and unity. With every brick and piece of mortar, this mill is building community.
It has been over a year since the earthquake and communities throughout Haiti are continuing to recover and rebuild. The Lambi Fund of Haiti has worked with grassroots organizations to provide emergency relief grants to communities in need, teach sustainable agriculture methods to increase crop outputs and to replenish community microcredit funds so that Haitians have access to affordable loans to invest in small-business enterprises.
Watch the video below of two women’s testimonials as they discuss the impact of Lambi Fund’s emergency earthquake relief program on their families and communities.
Your support in helping provide displaced families with food and basics following the earthquake is immensely appreciated. Mesi anpil!
The first stop in an itinerary that took us from Port-au-Prince to Haiti's most Northwestern town, Mole St. Nicholas, was at the Center for Plantain Propagation where we met with members of two partner organizations, Peasants Organization of Gwo Mon and Peasants Organization of Sél (AGPGM and APS). The meeting's agenda as set by the organizations included discussions about Lambi Fund's emergency assistance campaign and the work implemented at the Center.
As anticipated, we were all touched by moving accounts of earthquake stories shared by all. We heard of the tears shed over fallen relatives and neighbors.
We were all moved by the narratives of solidarity and mutual support extended to total strangers who walked into their lives traumatized, wounded and seeking support. Our partners told the stories that we would hear along the way. Stories of communities overwhelmed by refugees, men and women eager to help but wondering how they would all survive with their meager supplies of food and water, in the absence of any type of assistance.
Mr. Josephat, a member of APS recalled tearfully:
"I had 21 people, strangers staying with me and my family. We did not think twice about welcoming them, but we had not yet figured out how they would be cared for or how they would be fed.
When we heard about Lambi Fund's program to help impacted families, I was so happy that I cried. I cried because I was touched and shocked that people who had been at the center of this disaster had the time to think about us.
I was so proud to be a member of a strong organization, and I really deeply understood why being organized is the path to a better life. We would have been left to our own devices without Lambi Fund's support.
The government never came and the NGOs which did drop by brought free food supplies and their methods of distribution stripped us of our dignity."
His sentiments were echoed throughout our visits in the Northwest. Haitian peasants continued to reiterate that Lambi Fund delivered aid respectfully through the direct engagement of partner communities.
Reports from all communities visited confirmed that the second phase of Lambi Fund's emergency assistance program focusing on food production and food security was a total success. Nearly all farmers from Gwo Mon to Gwo Sab shared their success stories of fast growing cultivation within two months of the earthquake. Thanks to Lambi Fund's support, partner communities generated bountiful harvests of peas, vegetables and corn for consumption and sale at local markets.
In Mawotyé, farmers were less successful with the Emergency Fund's second phase because they purchased most of their seeds from a government agency which was selling hybrid seeds donated by the international community. This unfortunate deviation from their tradition of acquiring local seeds proved very costly. According to disappointed farmers, with the exception of corn cultivation, the harvest for peas, okra, millet and other vegetables was dismal. The farmers said that they have learned their lesson and will return to purchasing local seeds.
In all communities visited, farmers reported that their ongoing projects were now proceeding on-course following justifiable post-earthquake interruptions. In Gwo Mon, activities related to plantain production, sale and processing were going strong.
"I was so proud to be a member of a strong organization, and I really deeply understood why being organized is a path to a better life."
Members of KFTK-NW in Remon, spoke of the importance of the Lambi Fund's support immediately following the earthquake and the Second Phase of assistance focusing on food security and sustainability. In Gwo Sab, farmers, fishermen and market women thanked Lambi Fund for its support of their efforts to modernize their fishing practices and to capitalize the women's microcredit fund. Members enumerated in very somber tones the names of all the men who perished at sea in the past - victims to the elements and the rudimentary boats they used for fishing. Gwo Sab's collaboration with Lambi Fund has resulted in the purchase of new motor boats, is saving lives and helping build a more sustainable future for their community.
This trip into the Artibonite and Northwestern parts of Haiti illustrated the undeniable fact that Haiti's farmers rightly reflect the post-earthquake psyche of those in urban communities. Haitians, throughout the entire country, are all overcoming the immense trauma of January's earthquake.
Like their urban counterparts in Port-au-Prince, Haitian farmers are determined to be part of their country's reconstruction. Lambi Fund is proud to be a tool which will assist them in the realization of these dreams and visions for a stronger Haiti. In addition to continuing our support of sustainable economic and environmental activities, Lambi Fund has pledged to amplify these voices and their determination to be included in this historic moment for nation building in Haiti.
It’s been seven months since January’s devastating earthquake in Haiti. Thanks to the outpouring of support from donors like you, Lambi Fund has provided emergency cash disbursements to large grassroots organizations in Northern Haiti. This region received over 45,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs). These organizations used the funds to purchase clothes, food, medical supplies and other life essentials for earthquake survivors.
Ostazia Ogusten and her husband have 10 children and live in Mahotiere in the NW. She states that, “After the quake our household doubled. It was extremely problematic. We didn’t have the means to care for them. It’s thanks to Lambi Fund that we got the relief we so desperately needed. We could supply food, water, and medical supplies to earthquake survivors.”
Providing emergency relief to earthquake survivors was just the beginning. These individuals need to develop forms of sustainable incomes and integrate into their new communities. Your continued support will help survivors launch small business enterprises and plant crops for their families- providing hope for today and tomorrow.
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