Saturday, February 22, 2014

Is sustainability in the future?

The 96 children of the Foyer NDL moved to the new location of the orphanage in September 2013 and they are well adjusted to their new surroundings. Elementary school is held on the premise in six classrooms with nice desks, meals are served at long tables in the large airy multipurpose hall from an indoor kitchen and all the children now sleep on mattresses on the beds occupying the two new dorms built by Food for the Poor.  Is mission accomplished? Can we stop our support?

This progress, while undeniable, hasn’t solved all the logistical problems of offering a home and a future for the orphans, street children, rescued “children in domesticity” and extremely poor children placed there by a single parent unable to feed them. The sinks in the kitchen are neither finished nor hooked up to the water line; dishes are still washed in basins outdoor.  In order to prevent cholera and typhoid, it is crucial that everyone be able to wash their hands regularly, yet buckets and cups are still used for that purpose. Minimum electrical supply has been installed which is only sufficient for the few overhead lights but not powerful enough for a refrigerator.  Every day all these mouths have to be fed, toiletries for basic hygiene has to be available and everyone needs schooling, yet there is no source of income except for donations. So how can we stop now?

The easiest thing to obtain for the poor are used items of clothing, used anything! Is that what they really need? Yes, it is nice to have a “new” outfit and looking good is a matter of pride, but does that solve tomorrow’s problems?

Without the infrastructure to make the facility truly functional, without resources to fund educational pursuits how can the Foyer survive, let alone thrive? How can these children be given the education and skills to become self-sufficient adults? How can the cycle of poverty be broken?

Rendez-vous: Haiti and its friends are trying to help the director of the Foyer, Maud Laurent, establish self-sufficiency by giving the Foyer the means to be self-supporting in the long term.  To achieve that goal, we continue to fund raise not only to finish the existing buildings, install a fully functioning electrical system that can support refrigerator, freezer, washing machines, computers and ovens, but also to create revenue-generating enterprises. Though most people would agree this is a worthwhile endeavor, funds to support its implementation are extremely hard to get. Micro-businesses [such as a bakery, sale of purified water, poultry production] tied to the Foyer are the only reliable way to enable the Foyer to gain autonomy and to make this an independent sustainable home for 96 children and a means to break the cycle of poverty. 
Hand washing before lunch
Doing dishes
Eating supper in the dark

Hand washing laundry for.....96 children

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