HUFH By the Numbers: 75,000+ Ways You’ve Helped Us Help Others

2021 was a year like no other in Haiti, a year filled with challenges and disasters that shook Haiti to its core: political unrest, natural disasters, massive fires, food and fuel shortages, gang warfare, and the Covid pandemic as the backdrop to it all. 

But Hands Up for Haiti's frontline workers, our team on the ground, persist. Our employees show remarkable courage in the face of personal danger, facing down these challenges, stopping at nothing to protect the health of others. They can do this because of the support that you continue to give.

What did we accomplish this year?

  • Kairam Klinik Byen Bebe Program: 325 babies from birth to 1 year have received well-baby preventative care at our 4 sites.
  • Medika Mamba Malnutrition Program: 673 malnourished children have been treated at 5 sites in our malnutrition program.
  • Pediatric Emergency Referrals: 65 children have been referred to our partner hospitals for advanced, lifesaving care this year alone using our Emergency Care Fund.
  • Prenatal Care, Education & Nutrition: 534 women enrolled in our Prenatal Program this year, double last year’s enrollment.
  • Helping Babies Survive Skills Training: 40 Matrones, 63 nursing students and 60 nurses were trained in HBS by our program nurses.
  • Mobile Santè Outreach Clinics: 993 patients were treated as our team held pop-up medical clinics in 12 different communities before clinics were suspended due to circumstances on the ground, plus 50 more when we held a clinic at the end of the year in the fire zone.
  • Humanitarian Crisis Food Distribution Efforts: 1400 families in need throughout our 5 communities received essential food supplies during a period of dire food insecurity; we distributed an additional 120 food kits to victims of the fire.
  • Helping Victims of last December's Explosion in Cap Haitien: Delivering health care and humanitarian aid, including 120 food kits, to the scores of families left homeless by last week's massive explosion and fire
  • Community Water Project: We dug 1 new water well to bring our total to 15 wells in 7 different communities.
  • Earthquake Relief: We donated $12,000 to partner organizations to deliver direct relief to the affected region after the devastating earthquake in August.
  • Hypertension Screen & Treat: over 200 patients are treated in 2 communities, preventing stroke and premature death.
  • Youth Health Education: 5 sessions for 147 students ranging in age from 13-20, who will return home to their 5 communities to share their knowledge. 
  • Saving Vision: patients are screened at Mobile Santè, and referred for care at HUFH's expense to the few ophthalmologists working in the north.

Over 75,000 children and adults have been treated in our clinical programs
over the past 11 years.

We’ve accomplished this because our frontline workers persist in the face of unimaginable challenges, in large part due to your support.

Why does our staff persist?


"For myself even I am not a medical professional and I am not working directly in ground with the patient in the communities. But as a leader and head of the organization in country, it is an obligation for me to accompany our employees to give them strength. Secondly, is to show respect to all the Board members and donors that sacrifice themselves to support my people. While they are making all those efforts, I would be guilty to stand with hands folded, seeing my brothers and sisters dying because of lack of healthcare. Sure, it is dangerous and insecure for everyone in Haiti, including our employees, but the situation would be worse if we abandoned communities in the countryside -- if no one heard their voices because the shortage of the gas. To go to work despite the situation in Haiti, you have to have a good heart and love others: I consider all the employees at HUFH as bon samaritan."

Fritznel Jean, In-Country Assistant Executive Director/Human Resources Manager/Legal Liaison/Archivist


"The situation is very difficult. What make my object of motivation to continue my work with HUFH? The sense of belonging is what makes us manage our family through thick and thin well, that same sense of belonging to the organization that is our family, is what keeps us going through difficult situations."

Miguel-Ange Michel, Medika Mamba (Malnutrition Program) Supervisor/Supply Chain Manager/ Administrator Mobil sante program:

 

 


"Because I love the work I am doing and I do it will all my heart. I like to seeing my patients. No one is safe no matter where you could be, instead of staying home, I go to work."

Verline Alfred, Director of Nursing and Program Nurse

 

 

 
"As I deal mostly with old people, I realize their needs for medication is crucial so that no matter what, I go to serve them."

Lamadieu Jessica, Nurse, Hypertension Program

 


"I keep working despite the situation of the country because I want to keep the community in good health."

Theodore Dasamour, TSK (community health worker)

 

 

"I find myself in obligation to save life of the children and the pregnancy women despite the situation."

Collas Marielle, TSK

 

 



"I go to work because I love my job."

Jodlin, General Assistant and Security

 

 

 

"Because I want to help my country."

Valmyr Adeline, TSK

 


"My hope is to see all kids healthy, that’s why I go work." 
Joseph Dulasse, Assistant Nurse, Malnutrition Program

"Because we have to save life of the pregnancy women, and the post-natal ones."
Thomas Discerne, TSK

 

 


"The reason why I go to work  is to help my community stay healthy so that the kids don’t become severely malnourished and to help myself economically."
Mondesir Wideline, TSK Robillard


"My motivation is the willingness to help others."
Edline Celestin nurse, Nurse, Malnutrition Program:



"I keep working because I love my profession as nurse and to serve my community as I promised."
Zephir Philomene, Nurse, Well-Baby Program

 

 

"Because I love my community and want to help them."
Mondestin Lowens,  TSK


"I go to work because I want to help others."
Jean Baptiste Wildine, Pharmacy Tech

"Because I want to help my community and help the weakest and it helps me take care of my family economically."
Josiane Bien Aimé, TSK

"I feel myself happiness when I am working with the kids and pregnant women."
Joachim Gracuis (Mme Bwa), Matrone (traditional birth attendant):

 


My community has lot of malnourished kids despite the situation of the country I have to go for work to safe their life.
Clermond Jenson, TSK

 

 
They won't give up and we won't give up either!

Haiti UPbeat UPdate: Four Reasons, Four Lasting Legacies

There are as many ways to honor those we love as there are loved ones to honor. Here are 4 tributes, just a few among many, that move and inspire us on an UPbeat note as our HUFH team faces down the challenges of life in Haiti and delivers our lifesaving programs. We hope you will feel inspired as well. 

What better way to honor a life of service to children than to create a program that helps them as they grow? 

We recently started a new program called Kairam Klinik Byen Bèbè, a well-baby preventative care clinic dedicated to the memory of our dear friend and Board member Dr. Hemant Kairam.

Each month in Kairam Klinik we see up to 200 babies for preventative care, something that is not the norm in Haiti, but through which we
can identify feeding and development problems and other diseases and help keep children out of our Malnutrition Program and the hospital. The clinic, intended to support the lifesaving programs for children that Dr. Kairam worked tirelessly to build and grow during his lifetime, was sponsored by his family: his wife Dr. Neeraja Kairam, children Arin, Devin and Elana, parents Raj and Bala Kairam, and brother Jay.  

We at Hands Up for Haiti continue to secure Dr. Kairam’s memory as a blessing to the children we help, and we thank the Kairam family, and many of you, for making this possible. 

Read more about Dr. Kairam and the programs for children he championed here.

What better way to secure a legacy than by building on another?

The Kairam Klinik was built on the foundation of HUFH’s existing programs, programs boosted by the generosity of the family of Judy McAvoy in her memory. Judy was a founding member of HUFH who championed our maternal-child health care programs. 

 In the words of Judy's son, Brendan: 

My mom had always been one of those people who wanted to help others first. Her dream job growing up was to join the Peace Corps and she made a life of helping other people (specifically babies and their mothers) as a pediatric nurse.

The tragic earthquake that hit Haiti back in 2010 was a call to action for her to basically form her own type of "Peace Corps". When she and a few colleagues in the medical field saw how badly help was needed, they gathered a group of people with as many medical supplies as they could carry and traveled to Haiti to help in any way they could.

And so began Hands Up for Haiti.

Mom came back raving about the people and the country and since that first trip, it became her passion to help them receive the medical care they desperately need but don't have available to them.

She passed away way too early, but laid the groundwork for this great cause as a founding member…

She's definitely one of the ones who left her mark in her time here."

Judy's dedication and passion inspired Brendan to create an unusual fundraiser for HUFH: growing his hair for Haiti! You can read more about it here. Many thanks to Judy’s husband Jim and to Brendan and the rest of the McAvoy family and friends for keeping  Judy’s legacy alive, and her memory burning bright. 

Read more about Judy McAvoy and the maternal/child health care programs she championed here.

What better way to honor both the past and present together?

Thanks to the generosity of Christelle Dorcil, a Haitian-American attorney based in New York, we were able to build our 15th clean water well in a neighborhood of Madeleine, near our office clinic, that had no drinkable water. Christelle dedicated the well to honor her Haitian ancestry: to celebrate her mother’s birthday and in memory to her Haitian grandmother. Because clean water is key to good health, Christelle’s gift ensures a lasting legacy of better health to an entire community in need.

The plaque that sits on the well:
In honor of Mother Mirta Thomas (with Christelle on the left)
& My Grandmother Andrea Damezal (with Christelle as a child on the right)

Read more about our Community Clean Water Project here

And what better way to celebrate of the circle of life than with a gift of life?

Thank you to Matt and Amanda Friedman, who donated the funds to dig and maintain our 16th community clean water well in honor of the engagement of Melissa Buckley and Dr. Adam Handler. Dr. Handler is a HUFH Board member and program mentor and is passionate about the need for clean water to ensure good health. This beautiful tribute to Adam and Melissa's love will provide clean water to a community of nearly 4000 people. 

Read more about our Community Clean Water Project here

There are so many ways to show your support, honor a loved one, or sustain a living legacy.

 With your generous support, the spirit of so many of our dedicated volunteers will live on in the children and families of Haiti, whose brighter futures they helped build.

In these challenging times,
Haitian Run + Haitian Led = Lifesaving Programs that Build a Better Future
And they can do it because of YOU!

HAVE A CREATIVE FUNDRAISING IDEA OR PROJECT?
Share it with us and we’ll post on our web site to help you build a better future in honor or memory of someone who will continue to inspire us all. 

Click Here to Support our Work 


Some Compelling News About the Root Cause of Haiti’s Troubles

The New York Times recently published a series of reports on The Cost of Haiti's Freedom.  The series explores the outside forces that led to the current state of affairs in Haiti and explains in large part how Haiti is the poorest country in the Americas, in need of our help. The article was written in Dondon, one of HUFH's program sites.

Here are the links to The Haiti Series, including:


In Neighborhoods Decimated by Fire, HUFH Takes Action

HUFH’S FRONTLINE WORKERS IN ACTION, HELPING VICTIMS OF THE LATEST TRAGEDY, RIGHT IN THEIR OWN NEIGHBORHOOD

Our neighbors in Cap Haitien sustained another devastating blow shortly before the Christmas holidays: a gas truck exploded, leaving a scene of carnage. At least 75 people dead. Two neighborhoods engulfed in flames and decimated.

How are we helping? Delivering Direct Medical Care

On New Year’s Eve, our team held a Mobile Santè Outreach Clinic in the affected area. Our doctors and nurses examined dozens of patients of all ages, distributed medications, and referred those in need of advanced care to our partner hospitals.

How are we helping? Humanitarian Relief Packages

In addition to offering basic medical care, first aid, and a listening ear to those who needed to express their grief, we provided food and water kits to more than 100 families who lost their homes and possessions.

Our Impact -- "A Big Day Among All Big Days for HUFH"

In a moving message to his fellow HUFH staff members, Miguel-Ange Michel, HUFH’s administrative coordinator of Mobile Santè, explained the importance of holding the clinic on New Year's Eve:

“We know that there are many people who cannot celebrate because of the catastrophic fires that have befallen them. In this sense, since Hands Up People are People of Love, we have decided to organize a Mobile Clinic for these people….This is a way for us to reserve a part of this December 31st holiday for those who have lost their families, children, mothers and fathers. They can't celebrate today, but if we bring a little something for them, a little bit of health, they will be relieved anyway.”


Reflecting afterwards on HUFH's efforts, Thermitus Jean, HUFH's in-country Executive Director, expressed his feelings about the day of service: 
 
"I feel touched to the bottom of my heart -- so proud of our staff as so many came to work at the Mobile Clinic on the holiday. They are so grateful to be able to help their own people in this time of great need. Patients are saying we're the only organization after the fire who came to assist them in the way that we are doing it - by providing food packages and medical care. I feel that this day of service was one of the big days among all big days for HUFH. Thanks to our staff and to all our supporters who work together to make it happen. We are very proud to continue to help in our way."

How are we continuing to help?

HUFH is working to alleviate the load on local hospitals. Our team on the ground is sourcing, donating and distributing supplies.

We are also working with the Afya Foundation, a New York based nonprofit that provides an environmentally responsible solution to dire shortages of healthcare supplies around the globe by facilitating customized shipments of rescued surplus medical supplies to regions in need, and with whom HUFH has collaborated in the past. Afya has prepared more than $23,000 worth of wound care supplies and PPE that will be delivered to Haiti and distributed by HUFH to local hospitals treating the wounded.

CLICK HERE to watch a video of our team in action last week, shown on Haitian TV news!


Honoring the Memory of Dr. Hemant Kairam & HUFH’s Programs for Children

Please Click Here to See the Video Tribute to Dr. Kairam

AN IMMEASURABLE LOSS TO OUR HANDS UP FOR HAITI FAMILY

The Hands Up for Haiti family was deeply saddened by the sudden and unexpected passing late last year of our board member and dear friend, Dr. Hemant Kairam. A true humanitarian and gifted pediatrician, Hemant was an integral part of Hands Up for Haiti since its inception and an inspiration to us all. He was deeply committed to both the children of Haiti and the education of the next generation of doctors and nurses both in the US and Haiti: He worked tirelessly to build and grow lifesaving pediatric programs on the ground in Haiti and he helped build an enduring Global Health program that offered hundreds of medical students, residents, and nursing students an opportunity to travel to Haiti and learn about caring for children in a resource poor setting. He wanted to open their eyes and touch their hearts as well as educate their minds. Beyond the clinical teaching, he taught them life lessons as he modeled caring, humility, respect for others, and how to advocate for those in need. A member of our board since 2018, his contribution to the organization was immeasurable.

Hemant was also a well-loved and respected pediatrician to his patients in his private practice in Summit New Jersey, an inspiring teacher of pediatrics for so many students and residents at the Goryeb Children’s Hospital, and a true humanitarian who only wanted to make the world a better place for children. He is greatly missed by his loving family, his patients, his colleagues, and our Hands Up for Haiti staff both here and in Haiti.

FINALLY A CHANCE TO PAY TRIBUTE

Last month, after a year of delays due to the pandemic, Hands Up for Haiti, together with Dr. Neeraja Kairam and members of the Kairam family, held an event to celebrate Dr. Kairam’s Life and Legacy and the HUFH Programs for Children that he worked tirelessly to build and grow.  In addition to members of the Kairam family, the event was attended by colleagues from the Goryeb Children’s Hospital, Advocare Summit Pediatrics, former trainees and students, and  patients. It was an evening of memories, conversation, and tributes. Our in-country director, Thermitus Jean, traveled from Haiti to speak and to present the Kairam family with a beautiful portrait. A full video of the tributes and speeches can be viewed here. Password HUFH.

A LEGACY FOR CHILDREN CONTINUED

ALL PROCEEDS raised from the event will help support THE LIFE-SAVING PEDIATRIC PROGRAMS that Dr. Kairam championed including the newly dedicated:

  • Kairam Klinik Bebe Byen – Well-Baby Program for Newborns to 1 year
  • Mobile Santè – Pediatric Outreach
  • Medika Mamba – Malnutrition Program
  • Global Health Education and Research

CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION AND TO HELP SECURE DR. KAIRAM’S LEGACY BY SUPPORTING OUR PROGRAMS FOR CHILDREN.


Earthquake 2021: HUFH’s Disaster Response

HAITI AFTER THE RECENT EARTHQUAKE: HANDS UP FOR HAITI'S RESPONSE TO THE HUMANITARIAN CRISIS

The extensive devastation caused by the 7.2 magnitude earthquake that hit the south of Haiti last week, compounded by extensive flooding from Tropical Storm Grace, has turned out to be much worse than originally feared. At least 2,200 people were killed and more than 12,000 injured in the quake, a number expected to rise as more communities are reached. In an area that is home to about 1.5 million people, nearly 53,000 houses have been reduced to rubble, roads are blocked or washed away, farmlands destroyed, and water sources are at high risk of contamination. Hospitals and clinics, which themselves sustained massive damage, are still receiving large numbers of injured. Tens of thousands of people have been displaced.

Thankful that our clinics and staff in the north were spared, HUFH’s response to the devastation caused to Haiti’s south by the quake is two-pronged and simple:
1. provide direct help to organizations in the affected areas in the south, and
2. prepare for increased need in the north where HUFH works.

Helping the survivors in the south:

Providing Direct Help to the South: Using funds raised through our emergency Disaster Relief Appeal, Hands Up for Haiti is providing direct financial aid to Second Mile Haiti and the Afya Foundation, and we continue to explore opportunities to support trusted partners in the south who share our mission and vision.

Second Mile Haiti, based in the north of Haiti, is an organization with whom we have worked for years to address childhood malnutrition. We are supporting Second Mile as they send thousands of dollars worth of desperately needed supplies and medical equipment to organizations based in the earthquake zone, all purchased in Haiti. 

Based in the US, AFYA is committed to supporting Haiti’s healthcare infrastructure and for over a decade has partnered with HUFH to secure medical supplies and help transport them to Haiti. Medical providers throughout the affected region sent AFYA their growing list of medical supply needs and they have responded with flights filled with everything from gloves and PPE to IV fluids and equipment.

Samson Desamour, one of HUFH’s original in-country leaders and an AFYA volunteer, picked up the shipment in Haiti and brought the supplies to Les Cayes, one of the most damaged cities, earlier this week. Samson remains there to help, because, as he says, “It’s hard to see my brothers and sisters are suffering. There are so many people that are helping on the ground, but the need is enormous.”

To view more on-the-ground reporting from Samson on TV news, click here.

Our in-country staff is also joining the relief effort. Fritznel Jean, HUFH’s in-country Assistant Executive Director, and a member of the Cap Haitien chapter of Rotary International, is working with the Rotary to coordinate direct relief to those suffering in the south. Fritznel explains: "The population of Les Cayes is in great difficulty. Hospitals are overflowing, many deaths not yet counted, dozens of houses completely collapsed. The survivors still roam the streets in fear of going back inside the houses that are still standing."

Next steps: As a member of the Haiti Health Network of medical organizations and hospitals, we are informed in real time where acute medical support is needed, and we will continue to choose as our partners those who are most experienced and best placed to make sure aid gets to the right places in the right way.

Please help us save lives as we strengthen our programs in the north.

Fortifying our programs in the North: Disasters have as many aftershocks as an earthquake and this one is no different. Today, our team on the ground is beginning to see people arrive seeking shelter and help from family members. Our staff is prepared to expand our programs to meet those needs in the communities that we serve. We are also ready to help with our partner hospitals in the north.

The severe food shortage has worsened: According to UNICEF, severe acute childhood malnutrition in Haiti is expected to more than double this year from the already high rate of 1 in 5 children. There has been extensive loss of crops, supply chain disruptions, and difficulty transporting food. This is adding to the ongoing problem with food insecurity which is affecting every area of Haiti. Our team is prepared and our malnutrition program - for children and pregnant women - remains up and running despite all the recent challenges.

THANKS TO YOUR CONTINUED SUPPORT, OUR WORK CONTINUES UNINTERRUPTED.

Our pledge to our donors:

We will ensure that your donation dollars go directly to trusted partners to provide direct aid to victims of the earthquake and to our programs for those who are seeking our help in the north.

TO DONATE TO OUR DISASTER RELIEF FUND, PLEASE CLICK HERE.

Mesi anpil - Thank you very much for all your support.

DUE TO THE GENEROSITY OF OUR BOARD OF DIRECTORS, WHO UNDERWRITE OUR ADMINISTRATIVE EXPENSES, ALMOST EVERY CENT OF EVERY DOLLAR DONATED GOES DIRECTLY TO HELPING CHILDREN, MOTHERS, AND FAMILILIES THROUGH OUR MEDICAL PROGRAMS.

For more information on what we do and how you can help, please visit our website at: www.handsupforhaiti.org

SAVE LIVES & DONATE HERE


A Son of Haiti Speaks From Ground Zero After the Earthquake

This blog is written by Samson Desamour, who has been on the ground in Les Cayes, the epicenter of the 2021 earthquake, helping to deliver supplies since early last week. Samson is one of HUFH’s original in-country leaders and an Afya Foundation volunteer. The Afya Foundation is a New York based nonprofit that provides an environmentally responsible solution to dire shortages of healthcare supplies around the globe by facilitating customized shipments of rescued surplus medical supplies to regions in need. Samson is in Haiti to assist with deliveries of supplies throughout Les Cayes and surrounding areas. HUFH is providing direct financial aid to Afya’s efforts in Haiti. You can read more about the Afya Foundation here.

In Samson's words:
It is sad to say that while 11 years have passed, Haiti still hasn’t recovered from the 7.0 magnitude earthquake that struck the country in 2010 and killed approximatively 100,000 to 316,000 people. We can talk forever about how the government hasn’t done much to help the Haitian people to get out of such a dire situation although they have received a lot of money to do so. My point is the people of Haiti can’t take it anymore. As Haitian, I am tired…

I am tired of seeing my brothers and sisters suffering.

I am tired because we need a break.

I am tired because we don’t have a government that cares.

I am tired because living in fear is norm for us.

When political unrest is a natural disaster.

And so, when the latest earthquake struck, I knew I was going down there to help. A volunteer with Hands Up for Haiti, I volunteered with HUFH’s partner, AFYA Foundation, to help them bring tens of thousands of dollars of essential medical supplies from the US and deliver the supplies to the earthquake zone.

When I got off the plane from Port-au-Prince to Les Cayes I wasn’t ready for what I was about to see. Just to get out of the airport it was so emotional. There were a crowd of people waiting outside of the fence to see who brings humanitarian supplies to help them, whether food or medical supplies. I drove two hours the next day to get to Aquin, a town in Les Cayes where we were going to distribute some of the supplies we brought with us. By then it was already dark. Lewis, our driver, took me for a ride in Aquin. While on our drive I noticed a few cement blocks in the middle of the street and thought that was normal because of how the roads in Haiti usually are.  I asked Lewis, “What are those for?”  He replied, “Those mean it is bedtime, no more traffic on that road.” I was confused and asked him to tell me more. He said: “Everyone is very wary of sleeping inside. Almost every night there are multiple aftershocks and therefore they sleep in the street and 95% of them don’t even have a tent or a tarp.”

One night I camped out and listened to the aftershocks jangle to the building.

Being in Haiti at ground zero and helping distribute medical supplies is very important to me because no matter how bad the situation is, I will forever be Haitian and be able to give back the very little that can mean so much to me, and to the people I help.
It’s hard to see my brothers and sisters are suffering. There are so many people that are helping on the ground, but the need is still enormous.

 

To view more on-the-ground reporting from Samson on TV news, click here.

To help with relief efforts, please click here


Well-Baby Care: THIS Is What Building A Better Future Looks Like

Calling All Babies! HUFH's New Well-Baby Initiative

A call went out from Hands Up for Haiti’s Community Health Workers (TSKs) to the residents of the rural and impoverished community of Robillard in the north of Haiti: “Bring your babies, from newborn to 6 months, to be checked by Hands Up for Haiti’s doctors and nurses; we want to make sure they are healthy.”

16 babies came and were examined and treated as necessary - one, Ilus Wenderlove,
arrived just in time: 29 days old and weighing only 7 pounds, she was feverish and had a swollen belly. HUFH staff rushed her immediately to a local hospital, where she was evaluated and will be treated through HUFH’s Pediatric Emergency Medical and Surgical Fund.

 

Thankfully, the other babies examined that day were healthy, and parents were grateful for the care and guidance they received. They are healthy appearing, beautiful infants, being lovingly cared for by their parents: HOPE in real time.

THIS all happened through HUFH’s new WELL-BABY INITIATIVE: BIRTH TO ONE YEAR PROGRAM

HUFH already runs prenatal care programs at three sites, providing medical care, nutrition and education to expectant moms, and postnatal checkups where we informally check on the newborns. We also run malnutrition programs in five communities which, in accordance with international protocols, treat children only between the ages of six months and five years.

But we asked ourselves: “Why wait till 6 months to screen for malnutrition and other illnesses?” At HUFH we believe that babies deserve good preventative care, much the same as in countries where resources are not limited. By promoting good nutritional and health practices for newborns, we can ensure they will never need to enroll in our malnutrition program.

Our new Well-Baby initiative started this week, with Nurse Verline at the helm. Babies born to mothers in our prenatal care program will be seen on a regular basis. In addition, our TSKs will scour the communities that we serve and invite all infants to be assessed regularly as well. Infants with health problems will be referred for examination and treatment by our doctors.

This new initiative is building a health care bridge for our communities: providing care during pregnancy, right through childbirth into infancy, and then into childhood.

People ask if we are making a difference in Haiti. With programs like this, we can emphatically say yes.

                                                 

 


Introducing HUFH’s Newest Collaboration: The Home Farming Project

Sometimes, a partnership opportunity comes along that is the exact right thing at the right time: a collaboration to address food insecurity, the root cause of malnutrition.

The problem: HUFH runs lifesaving health care programs that treat malnutrition in children and in expectant and nursing mothers, and that promote breast feeding and other healthy behaviors. When children and mothers graduate from our programs, however, they are faced with the same issue that put them in the programs in the first place: food insecurity. Haiti has long had the highest level of food insecurity in the Western Hemisphere, with over 40% of the population living in daily hunger, putting them at risk of malnutrition, stunting, infection and death.

The solution: A serendipitous introduction led us to OneSparrowDC (“OS”), a nonprofit organization that focuses on two pillars,  agriculture and community health education. OS already runs a community farm in the Cap Haitien area where children and their families learn how to farm and how to take their produce to market. Together, HUFH and OS are bringing farming to the families in the communities we serve.

Our collaboration has already begun: Hovard, OS’s chief agronomist, together with Thermitus, HUFH’s in-country executive director, and HUFH’s malnutrition program staff, met with the families enrolled in our malnutrition program in Limonade, the site of the pilot program. In an effort to empower families facing the challenges of hunger, OS and HUFH are providing the seeds, tools, and skills education to enable our families to turn their small plots into farms to cultivate and grow nutritious foods.

Accompanied by our TSKs (community health workers), Hovard has been visiting the families’ homes to pick garden sites and make sure there is water nearby for irrigation (thankfully, HUFH has built multiple clean water wells that will help in this effort). Families are choosing the crops they want to raise. The weekly skills training sessions include lessons on how to plant, cultivate, use, and sell their crops. This instruction will supplement the education sessions we already run at our healthcare program sites, which address the basics of good nutrition, the importance of breastfeeding, meal planning, and the importance of water sanitation and proper hygiene.

The future: Eventually, our individual family farms will combine to form co-ops which will share the harvest, with the goal of creating a CSA (community supported agriculture), increasing access to healthy food, combating malnutrition, and creating new opportunities for job development, all leading towards better health for the entire community. We expect to implement the program in all of the communities that we serve, and invite people in all of our programs to participate: an empowering and inclusive approach to wholesome nutrition for the whole community.

This exciting new partnership between HUFH and OS is aspirational: to create an environment where children and their families can do more than just survive, but can truly thrive!


Delivering Care During the Pandemic: Trust Overcomes Fear to Save a Toddler’s Life

As people are unable to travel and are fearful of being exposed to COVID, they often stay home and do not get the lifesaving care they need to combat other illnesses. One mother, however, bravely sought care from our staff when her 18 month old baby girl, Nacius Djoulie, became very ill. HUFH had successfully treated her toddler for severe malnutrition, and now she was very sick with fever and a rash. Her mother brought the child back, because she trusted Hands Up for Haiti, where Nacius had received such good care. Once again HUFH came to her aide. Recognizing how seriously ill the toddler was, our staff immediately referred her to HCBH, one of our partner hospitals, where she was admitted for life saving antibiotics. Nacius remained in the hospital for one week, and will continue to receive follow-up care, supported by HUFH's emergency hospitalization fund for children. Read more about the Emergency Medical and Surgical Fund here.

The ability to navigate medical care in Haiti is always a challenge. In the midst of COVID-19 when transportation and movement is limited, the challenges are even more difficult. This mother was able to get quality care for her child through the efforts of Hands Up for Haiti. Her mother trusted HUFH, and this trust overcame fear and saved her little girl’s life.