Living with family

After the earthquake of 2010, a relatively large number of young children came to live in the children’s village. A large group of these children will complete their secondary school this year. This also means that they have to prepare for an independent life outside the children’s village of Heart for Haiti. Many of these children still have family but came to us after the earthquake for financial reasons. With a financial contribution from the foundation it will be possible for many families to take care of themselves again.

“Our social workers are busy investigating which children we can safely return to a family or family. We will continue to follow them as a foundation and also support them financially if they can and want to continue learning”, says Robin.

The foundation’s study fund program is becoming more and more up-to-date and several of the children are motivated and opportunities to continue learning. They would like to start further education in September. Robin is very positive about this: “Better access to education is desperately needed for the largely young population of Haiti. And who can tell, maybe one of our children will play an important role in the development of Haiti as a Christian.”

Below the stories of two young people who have been back with their families for two years. They both visit school at the project and they can be found regularly at the children’s village.

Lensky Pétion: “I like it here”

Lensky Pétion is 18 years old and grew up on the project. He has been living with his father for two years now in a very large neighborhood called Delmas. This is near the project and therefore he can finish his school. He is now in the last class of high school and if he succeeds he can go to a university. “I like living here with my father, life is different than on Bon Repos, but I like it here,” says Lensky.

During the week he goes to school and at the weekend he takes a course in videography and photography. He also helps his father with the household. Here with his family, Lensky has everything he needs. “In addition, I am much more free to move around here than on the project. I like that,” he adds. Lensky has enough dreams for the future: “I would prefer to become a car mechanic, but who knows, I might also be a cameraman and photographer.”

Berlinda Orelien: “I am very happy to live with my family again”

Berlinda Orelien is now 19 years old and she has been back with her family for two years now. She lives on Route de Lillavois with her mother, two sisters and a brother. This is the same street where the project is located and because of this she can still go to the same school. She likes to live with her family. “Some things are of course different, but I also have everything I need here,” says Berlinda. During the week, Berlinda is busy with school and her homework. She also helps with cleaning, cooking and laundry at home. She is motivated to learn and has a clear vision of her future: “I want to become a good nurse so I can help sick people.”

“Here I finally felt safe”

It’s a week before Joe Biden’s inauguration when we make a video call with Jean Sammuel. We have to call him this week because next week he isn’t available. That’s because then the inauguration will take place. “Are you going to celebrate then?” I ask. “No, I have to work. Riots are expected and all over the country policemen and security guards like me are being called to help. ” It is clear that Jean has his affairs in order and has a great sense of responsibility. But that has certainly not always been like this in his life…

“My mother died when I was three months old. My father was out of the picture and my grandmother was taking care of me. We lived in the southeast of Haiti, in Thiotte. I was about six years old when we moved to Cité Soleil, a slum in Port-au-Prince. We were terribly poor. I remember walking far to get food from the government food program. Then you had to queue for hours, and as a little guy I was often pushed aside. Food was also often fought over. That was a really scary time. ”

“My grandmother went to a church nearby. The pastor saw how we were struggling and introduced my grandmother to Johan Smoorenburg. That’s how I ended up at the children’s village of Heart for Haiti, as one of the first children of the project. There was food and I didn’t have to fight for it! We slept in a big building, where we were safe! It was a difference of night and day for me. We had a good time with the boys in my apartment, I am still in touch with many of them. ”

All the while, Jean thinks that he has no family except his grandmother. Until one of the boys from his apartment is visited by an aunt. “She asked where I was from, and it turned out that she was from my hometown. In fact, she recognized my story and thought she knew my father too! ” Contact is made and Jean gets the surprise of his life: “It turned out that I still had a whole family! My father was still alive, but I also had (half) brothers and sisters, aunts, uncles… it was an emotional reunion. That was all I always wanted. We still have a lot of contact, although the family is spread over different countries. ”

Jean is in his early 20s when he finds his family again. By then he was trained as a translator. “I translated many official documents, such as adoption papers. As a result, I also had a lot of contact with people in America, who invited me to visit them. I met my wife there. We got married and had three children, who are now 15, 11 and 8 years old. ” Jean is grateful how his life has taken a turn. He explains: “In Haiti you often have the feeling that you can hardly make a difference. But investing in a child is the best you can do, as my story shows. ”

Haiti: An Island Adrift

From Haiti we received a documentary from Johan Smoorenburg about the current situation in the country. Despite the fact that it is spoken in German, the video with English subtitles give a good picture of the current situation.

Clikc here to watch this documentary.

Danger to Haiti from three sides

In addition to the danger of Covid-19, there is another danger that threatens Haiti, which is hunger. This is already a very big problem in the country. From the possibilities we have as a foundation, we help as much as we can.

Johan Smoorenburg wrote: “The lack of food will cause a lot of unrest. This also puts us in danger in the children’s village because people know that we have food for our children and people. ”

First Covid-19, now the imminent food shortage and then the cyclone season has also started.

Haiti in danger from three sides. More than 3.67 million Haitians have also been in a food crisis due to recent protests and economic uncertainty. Now through Covid-19, this number will most likely rise to over 4.1 million people.

Many farmers in Haiti are faced with the choice of staying at home on the advice of the government or working their land and providing food. Sowing, harvesting, selling food on the market; it is hard work and often families and neighbors work together on the land.

Due to the coronavirus, there is now less seed available on the market, which means that less can be planted. If agricultural production is shut down even further, hunger will soon be a bigger and more deadly problem than Covid-19.

As a foundation, we started a food campaign to tackle hunger. With this we want to support the population of the capital Port-au-Prince.