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New year, new struggles, new opportunities

Safety and preparation

June, 2021 Newsletter


We are already halfway through 2021. The world is still working its way through the Covid-19 pandemic, and for most developed countries they can see the light at the end of the tunnel with the roll-out of the Covid-19 vaccine. Sadly, this is not the case for Haiti. This battle seems to be just the beginning for Haiti and with an increasingly unstable political climate, the struggles for Haiti may only be getting worse for a while.

We've already reached the halfway point of the year 2021. The world is still dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic, but with the introduction of the Covid-19 vaccine, most developed countries can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Unfortunately, this isn't the case in Haiti. This battle appears to be just the beginning for Haiti, and given the country's increasingly unstable political climate, the country's problems may only get worse for the time being.

The majority of Haiti is peaceful, with people who are always kind and welcoming. The problems stem from the government's ineptitude and the prevailing gangs, which cause constant unrest and fear among the population, specifically in Port au Prince. These issues have yet to have a direct impact on Fond des Blancs, where the climate is as calm as ever, but the country's uncertainty and dangers lay heavy on everyone's minds.

Covid-19


For most of 2020 and into 2021, Haiti seemed to have evaded the dire health effects of Covid-19. There was some urgency in the beginning and a real sense of anxiety towards all the devastating effects it could have on the country and our communities. We have been very thankful for most of 2020 and into 2021 that the health effects of this pandemic have been minimal to almost non-existent in Fond des Blancs. Sadly, this does not seem to be the case any longer as cases continue to rise, and we are beginning to see more confirmed cases in the Fond des Blancs community. So far, we are only aware of one critical patient; we wish that patient the best and hope that their condition does not worsen and that no others follow.


With political unrest continuing throughout parts of the country; especially in Port au Prince, and no real leadership in place, I fear what may be in store for Haiti. Haiti’s government has done little to prepare for this pandemic, which includes making the proper preparations to receive the Covid-19 vaccine. Haiti was among the 92 poor and middle-income countries offered doses under the Covax Facility. But the government initially declined AstraZeneca PLC shots, citing side effects and widespread fears in the population. While wealthier countries begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel, Haiti’s struggles are likely just beginning.

Education


The government has mandated that every school be closed by June 11 and we have followed this mandate. We are thankful that the school year was only one month away from completion. For most of the school year, we were able to operate at a relative level of normalcy. Most of the grades were able to close the year with no issues, except for a few that need to continue on into July to prepare for their final state exams. We plan to do so with all the precautions in place to keep our students and teachers safe.

Up until this month, the students had been enjoying a relatively normal school year.

Our focus is to always be creating and improving the learning environments for our students. Thanks to all of your contributions and support we have been able to update and grow our classrooms and provide a more nurturing environment for all of our students.

We are starting our next improvement program in August with a teacher training program and we are collaborating with P4H Global.

P4H Global



Before this new surge of Covid-19, we planned a teacher training event for all our L'Exode teachers and for 40 other schools in the community. The event is being led by P4H global, an extraordinary organization that provides innovative teacher training programs that take into account Haiti's culture and History, while they focus on sustainability and individual connection. The event is to take place this August. We are continuing preparation to host this event and are taking Covid-19 very seriously. There will be around 200 teachers, we will spread the trainees across our three L'Exode campuses to provide space for social distancing. You can learn more about this program by visiting P4H's website and you can help fund this event by visiting our campaign site here. This is a transformational initiative and we are excited for this event and for the inevitable positive impact it will have on our teachers, students and community.

Farming

One of the benefits of living in the tropics is that you can grow almost anything at any time of year. We're working to change the way farming is done in Haiti, particularly in rural communities like Fond des Blancs. The cooperative's main objective is to help participating farmers increase their current harvest. The coop will provide both mechanized land preparation, planting, and harvesting, as well as irrigation and quality seed. All the farmers need to provide, if they so choose, is land. On average the farmers who participate in the cooperative receive four times more than what they could have planted and harvested on their own.

This June there was a cooperative meeting and distribution of the latest harvest. The potential of this cooperative is boundless, with much land yet to be included and with our next phase of packaging and selling goods to vendors. We expect to see greater profit for distribution and we are excited for what is yet to come. To learn more about what we are doing please visit our webpage, and feel free to contact us. We would love to talk to you.

Looking Forward


HCDF has been a part of the Fond des Blancs community for 40 years. With programs created to improve education, clean water access, stop deforestation, roads, livestock repopulation, agriculture, and more, the impact of HCDF is undeniable. These programs are led and inspired by Haitians, which is the only way to achieve long-term positive change, in our opinion. We want to look to the future with this principle in mind. How can we provide community development programs that are both sustainable and growing? How can we ensure that everyone has access to educational and employment opportunities?

HCDF seeks to identify and launch new initiatives that will provide opportunities and resources for Haitians to achieve a more equitable, sustainable, and holistic community. To accomplish this, the HCDF plans to expand educational opportunities by enhancing teacher training programs that aim to transform classroom culture for a more enriching learning experience, as well as providing safe pathways to further education through university degrees and talent trade schools.

How do we create job opportunities for everyone once a market is infused with an educated and skilled labor force? I believe we need to look at infrastructure development to answer this question. Infrastructure can be defined as the development of basic foundational services to promote economic growth and improve quality of life. We can identify at least eight types of infrastructure developments based on that definition: transportation, energy, water, green infrastructure, digital infrastructure, social infrastructure, government services, and resilience (Simplicable).


There are numerous subcategories within each infrastructure category. Transportation can include road development, which can lead to faster and more profitable trade routes, as well as rail, plane, and boat transportation, but for our purposes, we will concentrate on roads. Another example is energy; under energy, you can find green energy, from which you can create solar, wind, and hydro. Creating a housing community is an idea that could help bring this vision to life. One that is well-planned and organized, with basic necessities such as running water, electricity, internet, garbage disposal, sewer, parks, and other amenities. To build and maintain an equitable housing community that is accessible to people of all socioeconomic levels, a skilled labor force is required.