Many stories of suffering and hope come out of Haiti. Appointed missionary Lauren Stanley reports on these stories at her blog Go Into the World. Several this week tell about how getting schools up and running helps children to heal from the shock of the earthquake, injuries and death all around them. Also an update on Episcopal Relief and Development activities for long term re-development.
A slight tap and the trail of dominoes -- about 27,500 of them -- toppled one by one, sparking cheers from students, staff and faculty recently in the gymnasium at St. George Episcopal School in San Antonio in the Diocese of West Texas.
"For every dollar we raised we put a domino on the floor of our gym," explained Jennifer Wickham, director of religious education about the April 26 event. The ripple effect of the cascading dominoes was intended "to show that little efforts and little bits of money add up to make a big difference," she said.
Dubbed the "Chain of Love," the trail of dominoes leads to hope for another school, St. Benoit in Mombin-Crochu, a village of about 25,000 located in Haiti's mountainous central plateau region. St. Benoit, a partner school of St. George, is among 250 schools that were operated through the Episcopal Diocese of Haiti prior to the Jan. 12 earthquake.
It took only about seven minutes to collapse the dominoes, but Wickham and others are counting on longer-lasting benefits. The $27,500 raised in the St. George annual fundraising drive will help build a school adjacent to St. Benoit Episcopal Church, where classes are currently held.
Since the magnitude-7 earthquake leveled wide swaths of Haiti nearly 100 days ago, the need for partnerships among U.S. and Haiti Episcopal-affiliated schools has become especially urgent, say officials of the National Association of Episcopal Schools (NAES).
The NAES website carries a long list of fundraising and prayer-offering activities that spontaneously arose in the days after Jan. 12.
"This is our neighbor," said Ann Mellow, NAES assistant director, adding that Episcopal Church-related schools know that their colleagues in the Diocese of Haiti are "brothers and sisters in the same church."
St. Patrick's Episcopal School and Church in Washington, D.C. is an example of a good, long-term relationship between partners. The school and parish have partnered with St. Etienne's Church and School in Buteau for more than 28 years. The sponsorships have helped to pay teacher salaries, student tuition, and help supply books and supplies and hot meals to students.
Episcopal Relief and Development update on work in Haiti
In the three months following the disaster, Episcopal Relief & Development and the Diocese of Haiti’s work was primarily focused in eight parishes: Léogane, Darbonne, l’Acul, Trouin, Grande Colline, Bainet, Mathieu and Buteau. In April, work also began in the parish of Carrefour.
Following the quake, Episcopal Relief & Development worked closely with the Episcopal Diocese of Haiti and other partners, including the Episcopal Diocese of the Dominican Republic, to get food to people in need as quickly as possible. A total of 217 tons of food has been delivered through the country’s Episcopal network of churches and schools, targeting eight of the most affected parishes and reaching approximately 70 communities within these parishes. Food was secured through donations, purchased locally and also shipped from the United States....
Water and Sanitation
In the wake of a disaster, lack of access to clean water and adequate sanitation can often worsen already terrible conditions. This is especially true when a large number of people are living in close proximity to one another, as in many of the camps that sprang up following the Haiti earthquake. Episcopal Relief & Development has been collaborating closely with its partners to ensure that survivors have access to clean water and adequate sanitation systems....
It is estimated that more than 1.5 million people were left homeless by the 7.1-magnitude earthquake in Haiti. Even those whose homes were left standing were, in many cases, unable to return to these unstable structures as aftershocks continued to affect the country. Since the crisis, Episcopal Relief & Development has worked closely with its partners to provide temporary shelter for those affected. In total, Episcopal Relief & Development and its partners will have provided shelter for an estimated 31,000 people....
While it is impossible to know the exact number, estimates indicate that the Haiti quake took nearly 300,000 lives and caused just as many injuries. In the days and weeks following the quake, Haiti’s healthcare infrastructure was overwhelmed as the injured flooded hospitals and clinics.
In this emergency phase, Episcopal Relief & Development has been working closely with the Episcopal Diocese of Haiti and other partners to provide health care to as many people as possible. More than 18,000 people received care in the first three months following the quake. It is estimated that by the end of June 2010, a total of 30,000 individuals will have received care....
In the wake of a disaster, one of Episcopal Relief & Development’s priorities is to continue working with affected communities for the long term, assisting them in their recovery process. The agency will continue to partner with the Church in Haiti and local partners, supporting Haitians on their long road to recovery....
Transportation was a huge challenge in the days following the January 12 earthquake in Haiti. Roads were made impassable by debris, the airport was overwhelmed with traffic and operations at the port were shut down. Episcopal Relief & Development worked with partners to secure adequate means of transportation and ensure supplies could reach those who needed them most. The trucks that have been secured for use by the Episcopal Diocese of Haiti will enable the diocese to provide sustainable assistance to parishes throughout the country....
A suggestion for action from the Episcopal Public Policy Network is here
Or this from Trinity Wall Street, photos and reports from Haiti