As part of its $500,000 commitment to fund small, grassroots Haitian nonprofits who are helping their communities recover from January’s earthquake, Direct Relief International has recently awarded a fourth round of specifically targeted grants. The groups receiving the latest grants are:
Mouvement Paysan de l’Acul du Nord (Peasant Movement of Acul du Nord) Despite the lack of earthquake damage in the northern departments of Haiti, many families are directly or indirectly facing serious consequences from this catastrophe. The migration of affected people from the devastated metropolitan area have begun to exert greater pressures on the social services that were already underfunded and unprepared to support more people. An investigation by the City Hall of Acul du North found that 18,000 migrants are now living in the municipality, in addition to the 70,000 residents who were already lacking adequate medical services.
The Peasant Movement of Acul du Nord (MPA) works to improve the lives of farmers in the north. Direct Relief is supporting MPA with a grant of $25,000 to provide much needed medical services in the area. The goal is to reduce the high prevalence of malaria and typhoid fever by improving sanitation; bringing awareness to the people through education campaigns; and establishing a medical clinic staffed by a doctor, nurse, and lab technician to help treat patients.
La Via CampesinaClose to 70 percent of Haiti’s workforce is in farming. The earthquake has complicated the farming situation throughout the country; the migration of a million people to rural towns and provinces is putting a strain on the local farmers. Donations of foreign food and seeds are affecting local production and long-term sustainability. Peasant families, demonstrating their hospitality, are feeding the refugees with the little grain reserves they possessed.
Direct Relief has granted $28,250 to La Via Campesina, a community organization dedicated to promoting food sovereignty in Haiti, to distribute seeds to 650 rural families around the country; build and maintain seed banks to ensure long-term food security; and fight the hunger of migrants. Within 45 days of the donation, families who planted spinach and okra seeds are expected to begin to harvest. Within 60 days, beans will be harvested. And within 75 days, corn seeds will begin to reap. This grant will not only provide short-term assistance but also ensure long-term food production in farming communities throughout Haiti.
Immediately after the earthquake, Solidarite Haitienne sent a team of four nurses and a doctor to the village of St. Rock in the mountains above Port-au-Prince, where 5,000 residents were not receiving any medical services. Based on the number of patients in the area, the team decided to send weekly mobile medical clinics to treat this underserved population.
Direct Relief is providing Solidarite Haitienne, a grassroots organization committed to healthcare, education, and economic development, with a grant of $20,000 to enable it to provide weekly mobile medical clinics in St. Rock for a year. It will treat 200 patients per week and implement a nurse training program so residents will continue to receive basic medical care when the clinic is not operating and into the future. During a Direct Relief site visit to the clinic nearly 500 people, mostly the elderly and children, were waiting to see the doctor; clearly, the need is great. The community’s water source is contaminated, and nearly every child had a cough and fever. Direct Relief will also support this clinic with an ongoing supply of medicines and supplies.
Haiti Hospital AppealHaiti has the highest mortality rate among infants, children under five, and women in the Western Hemisphere. A mother is 50 times more likely to die during childbirth in Haiti than in the U.S. In Haiti it is estimated that 75 percent of births take place at home without any form of medical support, placing both mother and child at great risk. This includes an absence in pre- and postnatal care. Due to limited maternity support, a large number of children are also left brain-damaged.
A mobile health unit to reach the slums and rural areas not receiving health support is urgently needed. The earthquake has severely strained the health system in the north, with hundreds of thousands of people now accessing services. The main hospital is severely under-resourced and often mothers cannot afford to pay for services nor do they have the transportation needed to get there.
The Haiti Hospital Appeal (HHA) was founded in 2006 in response to this desperate health situation in the north of Haiti. It works to empower, encourage, and equip the Haitian healthcare system, and to develop the skills of the Haitian medical workforce.
Direct Relief is funding HHA with $25,000 to establish a mobile maternity and pediatric unit. The mobile health unit will provide free pre- and postnatal consultations for pregnant women; a referral system for women at risk; monitor growth of newborns; and provide vaccines and nutritional support; free family planning and health education classes; and support for traditional birth attendants through hands-on training and education. This project will strive to decrease the risk of maternal and infant mortality and birth-related disabilities.