Haiti, with a population of 11 million, is considered the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere; 59% of its population lives under the poverty line and more than 24% lives in extreme poverty. The majority of the population professes to be Roman Catholic, but roughly one-half of the population also practices voodoo.
Haiti has an estimated 1.2 million orphans and vulnerable children. There are 30,000 children in orphanages and another 7,000 children roam the streets of Port-au-Prince, the capital city. Thousands more can be found across the island in cities such as Cap Haitien, St. Marc, and Gonaives. Every week hundreds of babies and children are abandoned in Haiti shortly after birth. They are left in hospitals, shop doorways, alleys or simply dumped in the street. Haitian mothers feel forced to abandon their infants in order to survive. Many are abandoned because their parents have no means to feed and take care of them. Many children become orphaned because their parents have died from disease, natural disasters, political turmoil, and gang violence.
In January 2010, Haiti suffered a devastating earthquake that claimed the lives of about 300,000 people, and Louisiana Baptists were quick to respond to relief efforts. Since that time, Louisiana Baptist Children's Home and other Louisiana Baptists have continued to share the love of Christ with the people of Haiti through Louisiana Reach Haiti ministry.
Louisiana Reach Haiti is officially registered with the Haitian government. Its vision includes building a mission center with a church plant and a children's village, a housing community, a micro-business center and trade school, and a school for educating the children. Along with helping with construction projects at the mission center, mission groups have provided Vacation Bible Schools, Backyard Bible Clubs, pastors' conferences, evangelistic crusades, outreach projects, prayer walks, church plants, medical clinics, food distributions, and safe drinking water systems.
Phase one of the Children's Village, located in Croix-des-Bouquet, has been opened and has the capacity to accommodate 20 boys and 20 girls. Several wonderful Haitians have been hired to serve in the roles of director, social worker, grounds keeper, house mothers, and security.
The mission of the Children's Village is to restore the Haitian family, one child at a time. This is a partnership with the Haitian IBESR (Child Protection Services), the local church, and Louisiana Reach Haiti. The Children's Village focuses on rescuing children who have been abandoned by their families, which make up 80% of the orphans in Haiti. These children are most often abandoned because their parents have no means to provide for their most basic needs of food, water, and shelter. Most have no access to school or medical care.
Many of the Haitian people who acknowledge Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior are fasting and praying and believing God for a “New Haiti." Haitian pastors are preaching 2 Chronicles 7:14, urging fellow Haitians to confess and repent and to see God “heal their land." Please join us in prayer for the people of Haiti and for the work God is doing through Louisiana Reach Haiti.
For more information, please contact Darrin Badon, president of Louisiana Reach Haiti, at (255) 241-2297 or firstname.lastname@example.org or www.louisianareachhaiti.org.