I am sure everyone has heard about the horrible, horrible situation in Haiti brought along by the earthquake.
We asked our friend Fionnuala, a Paris mum who adopted two kids from Haiti 2.5 years ago, to write about Haiti and the small charities that are currently doing their best to help alongside the big, international organizations.
Here’s her story:
When I told my kids I was going to send money to Haiti, their faces fell. “But Mama, “ my son said, “will we have enough left for us?”
Before you leap to conclusions about the little monsters I’m raising, let me add one thing. My six and seven year olds know what life is like in Haiti, and have some awareness of how much it will take to bring standards there anywhere near normal. Two and a half years ago, they lived in an orphanage in Port au Prince. Before that, they slept on the streets in one of the city’s worst slums.
It’s easy to forget, even for me. I look up at breakfast and see two petits Parisiens sloshing croissants in hot chocolate, their former diet of rice and beans a crazy, fairytale memory. We spend Sundays at the Louvre, urgently debating Titian versus Tintoretto, never mind that before in Haiti they had scarcely ever seen a single pot of paint in their entire life.
But they remember. The first thing they asked when I told them about the earthquake was whether anyone in the orphanage had been hurt (luckily no, though many buildings collapsed).
That night, as I put them to bed, my son held me tight. “Mama,” he whispered, “when I grow up, I want to stop people being poor.”
My daughter, younger by a year, overheard. “And I,” she said with a flourish, “am going to be the boss of television and wear sparkly dresses every day.”
Maybe she still has a way to go. Maybe we all do.
Giving to Haiti
There is so much need in Haiti, not just for emergency relief but for long term support in constructing a viable, safe and democratic society.
- One charity I can particularly recommend is Paul Farmer’s Partners in Health (PiH). For over twenty years they have brought modern medical care and deep compassion to Haiti. You can learn more about their work in Tracy Kidder’s wonderful book Mountains Beyond Mountains, and on the PiH website.
- I adopted my children from the orphanage Foyer de la Nouvelle Vie, which is supported by a US charity, Reach out Haiti. They help find adoptive families for Haitian orphans and run a safe haven where single mothers can live with their children and be trained in a variety of trades.
- Other orphanages I know of personally are God’s Littlest Angels, and Brebis, which is supported by another US charity, Answered Prayers .
Thank you so much Fionnuala.