Tyrone's OM helping Haitian orphanages, search and rescue

Thu, 01/21/2010 - 3:32pm
By: John Munford

Hyperlink below to donate directly to Operation Mobilization; New Hope Baptist Church has partnered with initiative; search and rescue underway at collapsed school for 2,000

A mission agency headquartered in Tyrone is partnering with New Hope Baptist Church to help three orphanages in the suburbs of Port-au-Prince Haiti which averted significant damage in last week's earthquake but need food and water.

A six member team from Operation Mobilization is at the orphanages arrived Wednesday and is also focusing on search and rescue operations near a school that collapsed on 2,000 students. This area has, so far, not received any assistance in food, water or search and rescue operations, the ministry said.

On Saturday, January 16, an OM staff member arrived in Haiti and made his way to one of the orphanages. It had sustained only minimal structural damage, but food and clean water were running out. The orphanage is home to 119 children but is also sheltering at least 300 people from the local community. Our staff member was able to get enough food for a few days.

The team's other focus is to help meet the most urgent needs for the orphanage in this location and also provide help to the other two orphanages. All three orphanages have only minimal damage to facilities, but food and clean water are urgent needs.

OM expects to remain involved in serving these orphanages in longer-term recovery and rebuilding.

OM is a 53-year-old ministry with more than 5,500 missionaries working in more than 110 nations and onboard a mission ship. The local office in Tyrone serves as the home base for approximately 500 Americans serving with OM.

Tax-deductible donations may be made online at www.OMusa.org/Haiti-earthquake-relief or by sending checks made payable to OM to P.O. Box 444, Tyrone, GA 30290. Please designate checks for Haiti Earthquake Relief.

OM is a member of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability.

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Gene61's picture
Submitted by Gene61 on Fri, 01/22/2010 - 10:59pm.

Haiti will never be stable. Again the world comes to its aid, then what? We'll leave and Haiti will begin waring with its own people and the boats will once again head toward U.S shores.

If you're a child born to poor parents in Haiti, chances are your career options are slave, slave, or slave. That's because approximately 225,000 children in Haiti live in situations of modern-day slavery. That's nearly a quarter million child slaves in one country. The existence of Haitian child slaves, often referred to as restaveks, has been documented for a long time. However, this is the first time the scope of the issue has truly been understood to be so large...

Restaveks are usually children from extremely poor families who are sent away to work as domestic servants in wealthier homes. The children aren't paid for their work, but provided shelter and a sometimes meager meal supply. In the best case scenarios, families will send their restavek children to school. But restaveks often work long days performing a variety of household tasks for nothing more that a meal or two a day. Two-thirds of restaveks are girls, and they are extremely vulnerable to rape and sexual abuse from the families who house and control them. The life of a restavek child in Haiti often varies between bleak and hopeless, and many children never successfully leave their slave conditions.

A recent study of child slavery in Haiti, the largest of its kind to date, was conducted by the Pan American Development Foundation. They found that 22% of children were living away from home, and 30% of households had restavek children in them. The study also uncovered a new trend of movement. While historically, restavek children were sent from rural areas to urban areas, increasingly children are being moved from one urban area to another. Poverty has become a stronger indicator of restavek status than geography.

The system of restaveks in Haiti is strongly rooted in poverty. Poverty pushed families to send children away to work. And desperately trying to remain out of poverty is what pushes the families who take in these children to exploit their labor. While human trafficking is often a demand-driven enterprise, this is a case in which addressing the poverty of the potential supply of victims will seriously reduce the number of trafficked children. While some families might still demand slaves and traffickers will be willing to meet that demand, the scope would be much less without such high poverty levels.

A quarter million child slaves is obscene, especially in a single country. But it's the reality for far too many children in Haiti. In fact, 225,000 too many.

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