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European Disaster Volunteers Does Good in Haiti with Help from BWB

European Disaster Volunteers (EDV), has worked in Haiti for more than 13 months now, and BWB has supported our efforts from the very beginning. Most recently, BWB donated $2,000 to help us address one of the most challenging parts of our work in Haiti: helping the orphanages we support become self-sufficient.

We’re tackling this huge challenge with one of the most vulnerable orphanages we work with, the Foyer d’Orelph Orphanage, from two angles. First, we’ll register the orphanage with the Haitian government, allowing them increased access to NGO support. Then we’ll focus on helping the directors of the organisation start a small business which will provide a sustainable income for the orphanage.

To understand why these steps will be so important for the future of the 55 children in the orphanage’s care, we’ll need to start with a little background information.

Children in Haiti face a very uncertain future. The country has the highest infant mortality rate in the western hemisphere. More than 70% of adults live on less than $2 a day and illiteracy stands at more than 50%, leaving those trapped in poverty with few opportunities to better their position. This dire situation leaves many parents unable to care for their children.

Without any kind of social support system, many parents abandon their children at orphanages. Orphanage directors and NGOs agree that having locally led, informal, groups as care-givers for thousands of abandoned Haitian children is not ideal. Everyone agrees that the ultimate goal is to reunify these children with their families and provide support for those families, keeping them together.

However, the current situation is that families have no-where else to turn when they are unable to care for their children. Orphanages provide a life-line for children who would otherwise be hungry on the streets, but that lifeline is often dangerously thin.  Food, medicine, clothing, and school supplies can seem impossible to find, despite the huge number of NGOs in Haiti which aim to provide those very items.

The Foyer d’Orelph orphanage is an example of just such a case. The directors ran a small association for children prior to the earthquake. After the disaster, families who were unable to care for their children left them with the orphanage director. While the directors knew they would struggle to care for the children, they also knew the alternative was life on the streets. So they took the children in. Today, they face constant shortages of food, medication, and other basic necessities.

We’ve already built classrooms for the children in the orphanage’s care, and we’re aiming to provide scholarships over the next several years to ensure these vulnerable kids receive the best education available to them. While these investments are critical for the children’s futures, they’ll be wasted if the orphanage directors are unable to provide food and basic necessities. Children can’t learn on an empty stomach or while ill.

The heartbreaking fact is that there are resources available in Haiti, but they are generally reserved for registered orphanages. Registering with the Haitian government can take months and cost anywhere between $500 and $1,000. These sums are unthinkable for orphanage directors struggling to put food in the stomachs of the children in their care. But once registered, doors open to medical support, food support, and connections with large NGOs in country.

We’re working with Foyer d’Orelph directors daily to help them take the necessary steps to register the orphanage with the government. Ultimately, this will allow the directors to not only access basic necessities they need, but participate in planned programmes to reunify children with their families, provide job training, and ensure a better tomorrow. BWB has provided the funds to make this registration possible.

In addition, we’ll use BWB’s generous donation to invest in a small business which will not only provide income for the orphanage, but will allow the children to learn essential skills that will serve them well as they grow.

The development and execution of these projects will continue in the coming weeks and months. We anticipate this being a long process, but its end point is sustainability for some of the most vulnerable children in Haiti. And what could be more worthy of our efforts?

We’d like to extend a huge thanks to BWB for continuing their inspiring support of EDV and Haitian children and making this essential work possible. This donation truly will be life changing for these children and directors.

To make your own donation to support the orphanage, you can visit us online at or make a tax deductible donation through our US fiscal sponsors here


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