Haiti Micah Project Update (8/9/2008)
The Haiti Micah Project (HMP) was established in 2005 by Father Joseph Constant, a Haitian Priest who was born in Mirebalais and is now living and working in Virginia. Like many in the Haitian Diaspora, Father Constant wanted to give back to his hometown and his country. He established a feeding program for street kids and other vulnerable children as a first step toward meeting their basic needs which include shelter, water, health care, education, vocational training and spiritual/emotional support. HMP is growing and this blog provides an update of their activities.
From June 30-July 5, HMP travelled to Haiti to examine progress made to date and discuss expansion with local partners. The group included members of St. Paul's Church in King George, Virginia, St. Thomas' Church in Taunton, Massachusetts and members of the National Organization for the Advancement of Haitians (NOAH) who provided medical care for the children.
The group met with community leaders who oversee the faily feeding program. In addition, they met with Mayor Lochard Laguerre who has been very supportive of their efforts. Mayor Laguerre offered to donate a piece of land for the construction of an orphanage. Going forward, HMP will have the land surveyed and process the paperwork to make the transfer official. However, construction of the orphanage will take time and require more funds than are currently available. In the meantime, HMP would like to rent a house for children with the greatest needs. The group visited two adjacent houses which together could house twenty children. The HMP Board is seriously considering the possibility of renting these houses.
Half of NOAH's volunteer health care providers set up at the hospital, providing free treatment and medicine to many. The other half of the group set up at a clinic at St. Peter's, treating approximately 220 children in one afternoon. The group also provided the children with school supplies, soap, clothes and dental supplies. This distribution would not have been possible without St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church, Washington, DC; St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, King George, VA; Holy Comforter Episcopal Church, Vienna, VA; St. Thomas Episcopal Church, Taunton, MA; and the Episcopal Diocese of Washington.
HMP has also been officially recognized as a service organization by the Haitian government. This will create new opportunities for partnering with the Haitian government and USAID funded programs. Recently, The Daughters of the King awarded HMP with a $10,000 grant to support the expansion of the feeding program. Funding will allow for the hiring of additional staff and serve 25 more children with daily meals, tutition for schools, and uniform alliance.
HMP is a small organization, but their work makes all the difference to vulnerable children in Mirebalais. To learn more about them, take a look at their website. If you are interested in supporting HMP, you can make an online donation. There are certainly opportunities to volunteer with them stateside or possibly in Haiti. Contact information is listed below.
Alexandria, VA 22304