Episcopal Relief and Development continues development work and emergency assistance in communities in Haiti amidst growing unrest in the country.
Kidnappings, robberies, and ongoing unrest led by armed groups in Port-au-Prince and other areas in Haiti have already killed hundreds of people. Police estimate that over 450 people have been kidnapped since March. Crimes are on the rise and gun battles are a regular occurrence. Violence is expected to increase as political instability continues in the months leading up to the presidential elections scheduled for December.
Also, recent hurricanes have killed at least 46 people and damaged crops and homes in communities along the southern coast and southwestern peninsula of the country. But our work in Haiti continues.
Our long-term programs in the areas of emergency mitigation and response, food security, and capacity building are helping lift Haitians out of poverty. We are supporting development training in reforestation and soil conservation. Our economic and social development office within the Diocese of Haiti is strengthening the church's ability to manage its own programs of health, agriculture, and job training.
Despite growing insecurity in Haiti, we remain committed to our long-term programs. "It is still a very serious situation here," said the Rt. Rev. Jean Zache Duracin, Bishop of Haiti, "but the people of Haiti still have hope."
Rebuilding after disasters in 2004...
ERD is helping Haitians recover after major disasters in 2004. ERD's rehabilitation program is rebuilding communities devastated in the aftermath of civil unrest and several storms last year. We responded with emergency relief immediately after floods along the border of Haiti and the Dominican Republic and in Gonaives killed thousands of people. We supplied food, medicine, and blankets to families affected by the disasters. Our partnership with Water Missions International is installing filtering systems and tanks to provide clean water for communities.
Empowering young people in Les Cayes...
In September, ERD and the Diocese of Haiti will open The Bishop Tharp Business and Technology Institute (BTI) in the southwestern city of Les Cayes. BTI is the first school of its kind in Haiti to train and prepare students to enter the private sector as mid-level employees in their local community. BTI's new director is Emmanuel Corneille, an experienced educator and business professional.
"BTI's career-oriented programs will provide an integrated understanding of detailed knowledge and hands-on experience in specific business and computer technology fields," said Corneille.
Students will receive a post-secondary business education and training in basic business subjects. BTI's two-year program will graduate 60 students, with 30 trained in business processes and 30 skilled in computer operations and maintenance.
"The school intends to foster business growth in Les Cayes and provide opportunities for BTI graduates to be employed in the local economy," said Corneille.
BTI will provide new opportunities for Haitians to earn an income for themselves and support their families.