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Direct Relief Awards Five New Community Grants in Haiti


Direct Relief is awarding five new Community Grants to support the work grassroots groups are doing in Haiti to help their communities recover from the affects of January’s devastating earthquake. The new recipients are:

Foundation Hope for Haiti Foundation Hope for Haiti, a nonprofit organization founded in 2002, promotes community sustainable development, decentralization, education, civic involvement, and health. Its core philosophy is to encourage collaborative endeavors with other credible organization in Haiti so that aid can be maximized and sustainable.

A $25,000 grant from Direct Relief goes to the Clinic of the Community of Thomassin, a town in the hills an hour from Port-au-Prince. The one hospital in the region has limited capacity, limited yet many destitute people have sought refuge in Thomassin and beyond. The clinic provides basic care to a population of over 15,000. Direct Relief and Foundation Hope for Haiti will improve the healthcare facility and develop clinical psychological services to help children and adults deal with the emotional trauma of the earthquake and learn coping skills to achieve true recovery.

Melissa’s Hope Orphanage Melissa’s Hope Orphanage has cared for hundreds of children since it was founded in 2003 as a home for special-needs children. After the earthquake, the small facility has became the site where families in the area to receive medical care, education, and food. Additionally, there are more children who need schooling than are currently can be accommodated. A separate school must be built apart from the orphanage to provide the children with a proper education.

With a $25,000 grant from Direct Relief, the orphanage will expand and revamp its operations so that it can provide not only care for special-needs orphans but also schooling, free medical care, and food distribution that this impoverished community outside Port-au-Prince desperately needs.

La Fondation Orchidee La Fondation Orchidee, founded in 2008, provides free education to children and young people in the less privileged sections of Haitian society. It operates though orphanages, clubs, homes, and shelters to provide cultural, social, and educational programs. The foundation targets children who would not otherwise have access to education and pays for their education and food; assists with intellectual development; and coordinates social activities such as excursions, contests, and debates.

In the quake, many schools were destroyed. The foundation’s reading room is a panacea for parents who have no schools for their children to attend; the lack of vocational schools promotes idleness and contributes to unemployment. Direct Relief is providing a grant of $25,000 to the foundation to repair its facility; conduct reading, hygiene, and etiquette workshops for first- through ninth-graders; provide hot lunches; and distribute food, hygiene and clothing to the surrounding community. The program intends to bolster the community in the aftermath of the earthquake, but also return the children back to a sense of normalcy and teach them reading, health, good citizenship, and etiquette.

Asanble Vwazen Solino Asanble Vwazen Solino (AVS), Creole for Assembly of Solino Neighbors, was formed by a group of young adults in 2005 to help deal with the violence and robberies in the neighborhood of Solino.  They created a school to educate the socially marginalized children of Solino free of charge as well as give them one hot meal a day.

After the earthquake, AVS began holding its classes and programs in tents on its property so that children could talk about their fears and engage in activities and games to help them cope. Major renovation is needed to make the school functional and provide students with educational materials, toys, clothes, water, food, and first aid. Direct Relief’s $7,300 grant will help the school’s students get an education in an updated building, a hot meal each day, and post-quake trauma counseling.

Asanble Vwazen Jake AVJ was founded in 2005 to improve the social foundation of the neighborhood of Jacquet and create an alternative school for disadvantaged young people, providing a superior elementary education. The program teaches children and adults to read, which gives them the tools to improve their socioeconomic status.

Before the earthquake, most of Jacquet’s 88,000 inhabitants were living in inhumane conditions without health care, education, or adequate food and housing. AVJ is responding to these conditions, providing 200 children a daily education and running a vocational school and computer school for adults, which helps attendees generate incomes. Direct Relief’s $11,000 grant allows AVJ to purchase school supplies; train and pay teachers; fund the workshops; provide electricity in classrooms; and feed students one hot meal a day.

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