ACCI Relief is constantly working to keep children in families. In post-disaster contexts, like the one following Hurricane Matthew that hit Haiti last year, children are often at risk of ending up in institutions (orphanages and other residential care facilities).
This can happen when families feel forced to give up their children when faced with the harsh realities of not being able to provide a home or adequate care for their children. This is of particular concern in Haiti, as the 2010 Earthquake saw numerous children unnecessarily placed in institutions following the disaster. These were children that had families – families that did not have access to the support needed to keep their children with them as they rebuilt their lives.
Two families that were struggling to care for their children in the aftermath of the Hurricane last year have found a way to remain together thanks to the work of our implementing partner Lumos and the generosity of ACCI supporters.
Cecita is married with several children and 16 grandchildren, aged six months to 16 years old, who live with her and are entirely dependent on her to survive. She lives in a hut in a remote, rural community that is only accessible by foot, 30 minutes from Les Cayes in the South Department of Haiti. The family are in extreme poverty and barely have enough to survive. The children are malnourished and do not attend school because the family cannot afford to pay their school fees.
Cecita’s basic wooden hut was destroyed during Hurricane Matthew last year. Luckily, she managed to get her family to safety and they sought refuge in a neighbour’s concrete house. Although they were safe, the hurricane terrified Cecita’s grandchildren and they cried and screamed the whole night.
The hurricane plunged Cecita and her family further into poverty. Whilst Cecita has managed to construct a makeshift hut to sleep in, it is poorly constructed and the roof regularly leaks leaving her belongings soaking wet. The hut is not big enough for her to care for all of her grandchildren and four of them live with her whilst the remaining 12 are living with neighbours in the community.
Thanks to your support, our implementing partner will provide Cecita and her family with a new, pre-fabricated home that she will live in along with the most vulnerable of her grandchildren. Her new home will be hurricane and flood proof, increasing Cecita’s resilience and ability to withstand future disasters. It will also have a toilet that Cecita will share with her neighbours, improving sanitation in the whole community. We will work with Cecita and her family to find suitable, supportive homes for the grandchildren that cannot live with her and enable all the children to return to school and restart their education. To ensure Cecita and her family can continue to improve their lives and support the children, we will also help them to start a small business that will enable them to earn a living.
Thank you for your support in helping Cecita and her grandchildren, live together as a family and to restart their lives.
Photo 1: Cecita's original home is the tilted thatched structure on the far left; far centre is their barn type structure; far right is new shelter they have been using
Photo 2: Remains of Cecita’s wooden house after the hurricane
Photo 3: The new shelter that Cecita’s family have been using since the hurricane
* All photos courtesy of Lumos
Franchette lives on a steep hill, overlooking the town of Les Cayes. She has 13 children and one grandchild, nine of which are living with her.
Along with thousands of others, Franchette’s home was severely damaged in last year’s hurricane and a wall and roof fell in whilst the family were inside. Thankfully, they escaped unharmed and were able to take shelter in a neighbour’s house.
Since the hurricane, Franchette’s family have been living in a temporary tin shelter, covered in tarpaulin, which frequently leaks. They have no toilet and they spend the little money they have on replacing the tarpaulin on their shelter. The children’s health has been severely affected and they are often unwell.
Our implementing partner is supporting the family to access education for their children and rebuild their home. Now, all the school age children are in school and learning, giving them brighter opportunities for the future. Franchette’s house will be rebuilt with a strong structure that can withstand future disasters, ensuring she can live with her family in a safe and comfortable environment for years to come. We will also install a toilet that will help improve her children’s health.
Thank you so much for your support of our work in Haiti and for helping us to keep vulnerable families together.
Photo 1: Franchette’s family’s temporary tin and tarpaulin shelter
Photo 2: Franchette’s family’s original house structure after the hurricane
* All photos courtesy of Lumos
If you would like to continue to see children and families assisted in the wake of disasters and humanitarian crisis, you can support our efforts in places like the Middle East: https://accir-acci.nationbuilder.com/wr164
Or if you would like to learn more about our efforts to keep children in families through our Kinnected program, please follow this link: http://www.accirelief.org.au/kinnected