$125,000 in Community Grant Funds Announced Today

Direct Relief today announced the first five grants from its $500,000 Community Grant Fund, which the organization established to enable Haitian nongovernmental organizations and community groups to access financial resources.  Five grants totaling $125,000 are being awarded today.

These grants are intended primarily to assist local groups working in Haiti before the earthquake which incurred exceptional costs responding to the quake or suffered financial losses from the quake. Such community groups were, and are, essential to delivering services and representing the interests of community members. But many of the organizations are not widely known outside of Haiti.

Because of this limited profile, local Haitian groups and smaller organizations in Haiti generally were not the recipients of the outpouring of donations after January’s quake, which generated a reported $2 billion in donations to international organizations.

Direct Relief’s longstanding assistance model is to support locally run efforts. This grant program, funded by designated Haiti contributions to Direct Relief, follows that tradition. Direct financial assistance to respected local organizations will enable them to fulfill the key roles within their own communities and establish their own priorities about investments in their communities.

These grants are in addition to the ongoing humanitarian medical assistance program that already has furnished over 300 tons of medical material worth over $32 million in the first three months following the quake and the allocation of $2 million in cash to support prosthetics, orthotics, and mobility assistance for the thousands of people who sustained amputations or permanently disabling injuries. The organizations are:

Haitian Health and Education Foundation

The Haitian Health and Education Foundation provides health care, health education, and high-quality practical training for medical professionals in Haiti. The Foundation strives to contribute to the improvement of health conditions in the rural and urban population through preventive care, primary care administered at the outpatient clinic, secondary- and tertiary-level training, and inpatient hospital care at the Haitian Community Hospital.

In the aftermath of the earthquake, the Foundation provided free medical services for three months at the Haitian Community Hospital to the roughly 250,000 residents in the surrounding areas. It is now forced to begin charging patients again or risk running out of money and shutting their doors. However, the roughly $4 (US) fee that they ask patients to pay for medical services can be insurmountable for many Haitian people. Consequently, Direct Relief has provided a grant of $25,000 to enable the hospital to keep offering free services for pregnant mothers and the severely handicapped for three more months and to hire three Haitian medical personnel to work in the clinic.

The Global Empowerment Network

The Global Empowerment Network mentors and enriches the lives of young people who fled to northern Haiti by focusing on the academic, emotional, psychological, and social aspects of their lives. The goal is to provide therapeutic support for these young people who have experienced trauma, displacement, and academic problems due to the earthquake. The $25,000 provided by Direct Relief will provide therapeutic services to school-age children in the northern district, train teachers, hire psychologists, and establish a community center that will provide continual support for the long-term mental health needs for Haitians who migrated to the north.

The Center for Community Health, Education, and Research

In 2006, the Center for Community Health, Education, and Research began providing medical services to the roughly 240,000 residents in the Delmas area of Port-au-Prince with the belief that people in Haiti have the right to be informed; educated; and have access to health information and services regardless of their social and economic status.  Using this as a model, the group opened a healthcare clinic to provide free medical services and conduct prevention training programs in the surrounding areas. Unfortunately, the clinic in Delmas was severely damaged in the January earthquake and has to be completely rebuilt. The $25,000 grant provided by Direct Relief will enable them to resume clinic operations in the short term and help them rebuild the clinic and create equitable health access to the residents of Delmas through a health maintenance model of care and services.

Haiti Soleil

Direct Relief International is providing $50,000 to help Haiti Soleil rebuild Bibliothèque du Soleil, a community library and cultural center in the Carrefour-Feuilles neighborhood of Port-au-Prince that was destroyed by the earthquake. Because schools, churches, hospitals, and homes in the community have collapsed, the people who once used the library as a place of leisure and education need –now more than ever–safe spaces and educational opportunities that a library can provide. The funds will be used to construct a building for Bibliothèque du Soleil and develop the library’s programs.

Bibliothèque du Soleil, founded by the Haitian journalist and novelist Pierre A. Clitandre and Dr. Nadège Clitandre, has been servicing the community of Carrefour-Feuilles for the past five years. Bibliothèque du Soleil provides free access to knowledge and research, literacy development, nurturing spaces for creative expression and cultural exchange, and opportunities for intellectual development. Bibliothèque du Soleil has been servicing the community by offering access to books and a safe place to read and study, and also by organizing programs, workshops and conferences; sponsoring youth activities; and hosting cultural events. The goal of Bibliothèque du Soleil is to transform the community and individual lives through the development of a space for knowledge exchange and cultural enrichment.

Bureau de Doléances Sociales

The mission of Bureau de Doléances Sociales is to help the poorest and most vulnerable families in the Carrefour-Feuilles area recover from the earthquake. The vast majority of the population of Carrefour-Feuilles, an area that was already marginalized, has no means to consult a psychologist to deal with psychological issues after the earthquake. To remedy this situation, the Bureau of Social Grievances (BDS) will provide psycho-social support to children at the local library du Soleil Carrefour-Feuilles. We know that severe cognitive deficits in individuals may have adverse consequences for psycho-social development. The project will provide psychological and economic support to those who have suffered cognitive problems as a result of the earthquake.

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