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Students and their families at Christo Roi de Corail school received Personal Care Kits along with cholera prevention training.

Students and their families at Christo Roi de Corail school received Personal Care Kits along with cholera prevention training.

Haiti Earthquake:
Two Years Later

By Nikki Massie

Aftershocks, widespread migration, a cholera outbreak — those are just a few of the challenges the people of Haiti have faced since the devastating magnitude 7.0 earthquake two years ago.

And that’s on top of the endemic poverty the small country has struggled to overcome for decades.

In response to the earthquake, Lutherans in the U.S. gave more than $7 million to support the Lutheran World Relief emergency response, allowing LWR to provide quick and efficient relief. Thanks to that compassionate generosity, LWR has made a long-term commitment to the people of Haiti, to stay the course and see communities through this disaster — and beyond.

Here are just a few of the success stories of our work over the past two years.

“…these gifts go beyond the physical objects
and help transform lives.”

Right after the quake, an outbreak of cholera — a potentially fatal intestinal infection — swept across Haiti. The students at Christo Roi de Corail school, just outside Leogane, had not yet been affected by the outbreak. Still, LWR and partners aimed to make sure families knew how to stay safe.

Good hygiene is key to staying healthy. That’s why, along with a Personal Care Kit distribution, LWR offered students and their families cholera prevention training.

The pairing makes good sense, explains Trevor Knoblich, LWR’s program coordinator for emergency response, who also attended the distribution.

“In the Kits, families get tools to stay healthy right here and now. Through the cholera prevention training they learn how to stay healthy in the long term.”

“The real impact Lutherans make when they give these gifts of their hearts and hands is immeasurable,” adds Melanie Gibbons, LWR Quilt & Kit Ministry coordinator. “These gifts go beyond the physical objects and help transform lives.”

Read more about the Quilt and Kit distribution at Christo Roi de Corail and learn more about making LWR Personal Care Kits.

Master artisan Emilien Blaise learns new artistry techniques at an LWR-sponsored workshop. His beautiful handcrafts help him and his 10 apprentices earn income to support their families.

Master artisan Emilien Blaise learns new artistry techniques at an LWR-sponsored workshop. His beautiful handcrafts help him and his 10 apprentices earn income to support their families.

Crafting a Better Future

You may have seen the beautiful craftsmanship of Haitian artisans within the pages of the LWR Handcraft Project catalog.

After the quake, many Haitian artisans lost equipment, work space and critical production time. Many faced the same shelter, food and health concerns as their fellow quake survivors, making it even harder to recover.

LWR and partner Fondation pour le Développement d l'Artisanat Haitien (FDAH) are helping artisans recover by offering training sessions teaching new production techniques and marketing skills to increase income, along with health training where artisans can learn and ask questions about cholera, hygiene and other health concerns.

Emilien Blaise, a master paper mâché artisan, took part in the trainings and learned new skills that will not only help him earn better income, but also the 10 apprentices he employs in his workshop. Emilien is from Jacmel, one of the hardest hit areas during the earthquake. The beautiful plates, bowls and masks Emilien and his apprentices make will be sold around the world, helping them to support their families.

You can take part in the recovery of Haitian artisans by ordering Haitian-made products from the LWR Handcraft Project catalog. Your purchases help artisans provide food, education, health care and more for their families.

Learn more about the LWR Handcraft Project.

“By participating in the LWR project, a lot has changed for me.”

Even before the quake, things were hard for Rosélia Eximé and her family. She often had to borrow money, at high interest rates, to get by.

“To pay back my loans I had to sell my goat and poultry,” says Rosélia. This left little to support her family.

LWR and local partner World Neighbors are reaching out to women like Rosélia to help them earn income, learn to manage credit and start small businesses.

The project’s overall goal was to support both earthquake victims and the rural communities where they live. Rosélia, who participated alongside with 64 other women, used her loan to plant vegetables and groundnuts that she uses to earn an income to support her family and send her son to school.

Rosélia started out with a loan of about $50 that she used to plant some crops. Now she keeps between $600-750 in savings. “I am happy with this progress,” Rosélia says. “By participating in the LWR project, a lot has changed for me.”

To learn more about LWR’s long-term commitment to Haiti, visit lwr.org/haiti.

Nikki Massie is LWR’s Staff Writer.

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