In Foster’s words, “Our photos cannot capture the devastation our Haitian neighbors feel; fearful of collapsing homes, they sleep in the streets, many with no tents.”
The world rushed to Haiti’s aid. Dramatic stories of rescue and relief were written. The Haiti Renewal Fund (HRF) was established with a $2 million grant from Lynn and Foster Friess who asked others to match the amount. The original partners were CURE International, Chances for Children (C4C) and Water Missions International (WMI). The Mission was to promote urgent recovery and long-term renewal. The immediate challenge was to overcome the acute disaster of death, severe injuries from fallen buildings, lack of potable water and collecting children who had been separated from parents or orphaned.
Immediately CURE International directed its efforts from its hospital in Santo Domingo, performed hundreds of surgeries on quake victims and set thousands of fractures in Port au Prince. These acute medical services were essential to save lives in the urgent aftermath of the quake.
Water Missions International already had a presence in Haiti bringing safe water to the island. After the disaster there was no clean drinking water around Port au Prince and a massive amount of bottled water was being brought in. With the help of the US Navy and Samaritan’s Purse, WMI brought additional community water systems to Haiti and immediately began to set up stations for the people to fill any containers with safe drinking water.
Since January 2010, Water Missions has installed 197 water treatment systems in Haiti and served millions of gallons of drinking water to several hundred thousand Haitians. In addition, the Blue Ridge International drill rig that was funded by HRF drilled (84) wells last year. WMI and Blue Ridge continue their work today.
Chances for Children work in Haiti began with its orphanage in Lamardelle and the adoptions of over 100 orphans up to that time. This project also provided education, economic programs for women, clean water and energy for the community and is now self-sustaining, allowing replication in other communities.
Today two adoption orphanages and four non-adoption orphanages are under their care. C4C also provides school sponsorships to 400 children and monthly care to over 300 children living in orphanages. This sustainable development is based on 6 key ingredients to help communities address the root causes of poverty: Education, Health, Empowering women, Orphan care and Adoption, Agriculture and Faith.
Among the hundreds of opportunities that were presented to Haiti Renewal Fund, numerous investments were selected including: A new water drilling rig for Blue Ridge International for Christ. This well-drilling ministry has served in Haiti for 30 years.
With the desperate need for safe drinking water after the earthquake their drilling rig was on its last legs. The new rig has blessed many with fresh wells including several of our friends.
Another notable investment is a pair of new mobile medical vans for the Hospital Sacre’ Coure in Milot. These vans will serve the surrounding area as a Medical Mobile Clinic, fully equipped for primary care with telemedicine consultative capabilities, which will allow for a greater focus on public health with an expanded reach to areas with poor access to the hospital.
Regularly scheduled clinics held in outlying villages can be enhanced with better equipped technology within this mobile unit, i.e. ultrasounds, sonograms, cardiology diagnostics, pre-natal devices, etc., will provide better medical care to the underserved in those areas.
The final project undertaken is actually one of the first that Foster encountered on his visit immediately after the quake. It is also a most satisfying work. Foster was accompanied by his son Michael who is deaf. They encountered a deaf community whose homes had been destroyed.
Mike formed a group, International Deaf Emergency, to help relocate the group first to temporary homes and now to a brand new community at Mission of Hope in Leveque, just north of Port au Prince. A total of 168 deaf families will move to new lives in homes provided by HRF in a Christian Community which will include a church, school and other amenities of a self-contained village.
So far seventy homes are complete and families moved in. Soon another twenty will arrive and in a few months all will be living in their new homes. Watch this 1 min 20 sec video about the Mission of Hope.
The Haiti earthquake was described as the worst natural disaster in modern history in the western hemisphere. About a million people were left homeless by the earthquake. Today about half have been returned to permanent homes. It is a huge encouragement to now see the tender shoots of renewal beyond recovery, aided by a large number of Christian ministries who came in answer to Galatians 6:2—Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.