Two weeks after the 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck the south-western coast of Haiti, it was reported around 650,000 people needed emergency humanitarian assistance in the three most affected departments – Grand’Anse, Nippes and Sud.
Aftershocks continue to shake the Great South region, where at least 600 aftershocks have been recorded since August 14th. On January 11th, another earthquake was experienced in Southern Haiti forcing people to run from their homes at 1am; many spent the night outside or in tents fearing to return inside homes or buildings. This occurred 1 day before the anniversary of the devastating 2010 earthquake.
In Les Cayes, where LFBS is located, some streets are blocked at times by people who are afraid to return to their homes. There is continued insecurity in and around Port-au-Prince resulting in the capital being off limits for the LFBS team.
Impact on Schools
Schools have had to start much later than usual, not only because of the damage caused to the schools, but also because of the decreased financial means for children and their families.
Families were required to spend their reserves for education on emergency housing and/or healthcare. Some families lost all of their belongings and had to start from scratch. Others had suffered the loss of loved ones who were supporting their children through school and now have no means to pay for education or school supplies.
This has created an influx of parents and schools needing support.
Without a safe home to live in, it is very difficult for children to focus on their education. Following the August 2021 earthquake, we've partnered with Digicel Foundation to provide homes to 22 families whose houses were severely damaged.
Our team has started building prefabricated homes purchased from a company in Port au Prince called Maxima. These are the same style of homes LFBS provided to families following hurricane Matthew in 2016 so we know they are earthquake and hurricane proof. During January & February 2022 we have provided new homes to 9 families so far! Thanks to generous donations we have also been able to help repair homes for 2 families whose houses were damaged but not destroyed.
This has been beneficial to both families we are building for, but also creates employment for parents and youth. We have created these opportunities for our community members so they can assist their communities by helping with supplies and construction, while also enabling them to support their own families.
LFBS also assisted with supplying tents and tarps that were supplied to schools for counseling and therapeutic activities. The trauma related to both the earthquake and numerous aftershocks continue to affect Haiti's students, and students are often afraid to be indoors.
Rose is a school teacher and mother of one child whose husband paid for schooling. Rose unfortunately lost her husband during the earthquake. Rose works as a teacher and her salary barely pays enough for food alone. Rose was desperate because she didn’t know how she was going to pay for her child's schooling. LFBS supported her daughter in going back to school this year, and will continue to support them both in the short and long term.
Anne is a teenager who is in the top of her class. She previously had support with school fees, however that support system could no longer help due to their own survival needs and economic struggles from the earthquake. When she came to our office we were not able to accept more students. Anne broke down in tears because she was so committed to her education and learning. Many students value their education so much because they see it as a privilege to go to school. Our team was so moved that one of LFBS staff personally paid for her schooling with his own salary.
All names have been changed for confidentiality reasons
LFBS in the Media
For all our Yukon supporters, you can watch the documentary Not About Me is part of this year’s Available Light Film Festival (ALFF)* streaming online February 11-28th.
Please consider voting for the documentary for the ALFF Audience Award!
Educator Study Guide on International Development & Social Justice Issues
As part of the Impact Campaign accompanying the film Not About Me, the film producers and Morgan Wienberg have developed a companion study guide for educators focused on international development and social justice issues. This campaign aims to start conversations that create awareness about the issues and encourage people to redirect their generosity towards more sustainable, locally-led programs that address the root causes of family separation instead of institutionalizing children in orphanages.
Coming up on February 22nd, the film producers and Morgan will host a special screening and brief online conversation for educators (teachers/ professors) about the study guide.
Thank you for being a part of our incredible community of supporters and donors. While the situation in Haiti remains complex, because of you, we are making real, impactful, and lasting changes in the lives of children, families, and communities. You are a partner in this work and we couldn’t do it without you. Thank you for your interest, support, and caring, and for being a catalyst for change.
Thank you for your shared commitment to our vision that every child in Haiti grows up in a safe, loving, and self-sustaining family.
Upcoming ways to support LFBS
Canada Called to End Support for Orphanage Volunteering
If you haven't already, we urge all Canadian supporters to sign the Parliamentary Petition requesting that the Canadian Government issue a travel advisory and information campaign to raise awareness on the damaging impacts of supporting and volunteering in orphanages (and promote alternatives). This is a first step in requesting accountability for Canada’s commitments under the Convention of the Rights of the Child to address child exploitation in orphanages. Canadians of all ages can sign the petition here.
Thank you for supporting our mission to keep families together by addressing the root causes of separation and poverty.