Haiti Partners’ Update and Response to Coronavirus
March 17, 2020
Haiti’s Current Situation
While many Caribbean countries have cases of Coronavirus, Haiti is among those that do not. At least not that authorities are aware of. The neighboring Dominican Republic has 21 cases as of today. Haiti shut its borders to the DR yesterday in an effort to contain the virus, and has also halted all international flights except those coming from the US. JetBlue, our preferred airline for Haiti travel, made the decision today to indefinitely cease flying there. (Click here for Miami Herald article about actions taken by Caribbean countries.) One of our Haitian co-workers came to the US last week for our scheduled Vero Beach event and returned to Haiti Sunday morning. She and other passengers were impressed by the professionalism of the screening by Haiti’s Ministry of Health staff upon arriving in Port-au-Prince airport. We know two things: Haiti’s healthcare system is in no way prepared for an epidemic so containment is essential AND Haitians are very resourceful and family and friends will work together to take care of each other and make the best of the situation.
Our Responses and Invitations
With Our Colleagues in Haiti
Knowledge and action are key to prevention. The leadership teams at the Children’s Academy and our partner schools are engaged. They are learning about hand washing, social distancing, who is most vulnerable and the learning is spreading. School staff, students, and their parents and families are all sharing knowledge. We communicate regularly with these teams via Whatsapp groups.
In January, we created an initiative called Istwa Nou (“Our Story”). Three young, talented Haitians are documenting with photos and videos stories of children and adults who are part of the Children’s Academy community. They are also teaching digital skills to our 4th and 5th grade students. Click here. Digital images and messages by our students to educate Haitians about Coronavirus prevention are coming soon! This is yet another example of how our school-based community development model can benefit society.
With You And Others Following and Supporting Our Work
We take seriously your trust in Haiti Partners. While we received thousands of visitors and volunteers over the years, we’ve also been known to cancel groups when we feel it’s not safe. Since July of 2018 when Haiti took a dangerous turn with increased unrest and kidnappings, we’ve limited our travel to Haiti and stopped receiving visitors and volunteers. As part of this commitment to everyone’s safety, we recently canceled our annual Vero Beach event–despite a sellout crowd–that was scheduled for the same evening. This was even before the mass canceling was happening. We look forward to continuing our events in pockets around the US but will always err on the side of caution. We look forward to receiving visitors and volunteers in Haiti again when the time is right. Click here for the US Government’s Haiti Travel Advisory.
Inviting Your Ideas, Reaching Out to YOU
Over the coming weeks, we will be exploring creative ways to stay in touch and keep you and all of our supporters close to this important work through which we all find so much meaning. If you have ideas for how to do this, we’d love to hear from you.
In fact, if you’d like to be in touch for whatever reason as we all navigate these challenging, uncharted waters, we invite you to reach out to us. While we do not yet know what the coming weeks and months will bring, we do know that whatever it brings, we are all better off facing it together. As you have been there for us so much over the years, we would love to be there for you in whatever way we can.
With Our US Volunteers
In the same way that we have an army of volunteers in Haiti at the Children’s Academy (parents of students give four service hours a week to have their child in the school), we have faithful volunteers carrying out work in the US. The majority of our office volunteers are retired and have been putting hours in weekly for 5-10 years! Meet them here. During this time when we’re committed to social distancing, we will be processing gifts just once a week. If you contribute by check, receiving your receipt acknowledgement will likely take a bit longer than usual. Thank you for understanding!
Committed As Ever To Our Mission, Beliefs, and Values
We remain as ever profoundly committed to our mission of helping Haitians change Haiti through education. We’ve always had the long view in mind knowing that durable change can take generations. We truly believe that the key to Haiti’s lasting change is a new model of education that orients students to become agents of change. Ultimately, it is only Haitians who will be able to change Haiti. We are honored to come alongside Haitians who are committed to preparing their children to create a better future. We are committed as ever as well to our core values:
- COMPASSION – Trust in the transformative power of empathy and compassion.
- PARTNERSHIP – Partnership makes us more productive, effective, and joyful.
- RESPECT – Respect the dignity, voice and potential of each person.
- LEARNING – Learn, improve and share in humility and gratitude.
- ACCOUNTABILITY – Be responsible to everyone connected to this work.
Click here for more information about Haiti Partners’ Vision, Mission, Values and Beliefs.
THANK YOU FOR TRUSTING US!
We are humbled deeply by your part in this work. We draw encouragement and inspiration from the many individuals, organizations and businesses that have come alongside us to invest in Haiti’s future, her children. Thank you for trusting us with your gifts and time. We are GRATEFUL!