Our Executive Director, Mary Kwasniewski, and our President, Ryan Kenrick, recently shared their thoughts following the devastation left in Haiti by Hurricane Matthew. While our boys, girls and staff were unharmed by the initial force of the storm, the aftermath remains unpredictable and complex. Read on to hear what we know, and what remains uncertain, and find out how you can help the children of Maison Fortuné Orphanage during this difficult time…
Mary Kwasniewski, Executive Director of Maison Fortune Orphanage Foundation
Our children, facilities and staff are safe. Hinche had some minor flooding but all in all, the area was spared the brunt of the storm. This is great news! However, nearly everyone in Haiti has a relative or friend that has been devastated. In the coming months, families will be making their way up from the south and our doors will likely open for children with nowhere else to turn. Additionally, in a country where the food supply is always at risk, the hit to a major agricultural area – as the South of Haiti was – will have ripple effects for the entire country. This includes food shortages and food price hikes, as well as fuel spikes. We must be prepared for all of these. Jean Louis will be managing the planning and prioritizing our resourcing accordingly. We are also watching the spread of cholera and while we have not seen an increase in cases in the Central Plateau yet, that can swiftly change. Jean Louis is looking into providing purified water for the children if the disease spreads to our area. Our wellness clinic during the last outbreak was able to identify cases early and get our children the hydration therapy needed to remain healthy. While our goal is to prevent it entirely, we will also be committing resources to our wellness clinic to be prepared for worst case scenarios to protect our children. It goes without saying that natural disasters in Haiti can be managed but they come at a cost to all. Our biggest need during this time is for cash resources to help us prepare to face many of these unknowns. Collecting and shipping supplies is cost prohibitive. Donations can be made via check or directly through our website.
In a recent article by the CBC/Radio Canada, Jonathan Katz, author of The Big Truck That Went By: How the World Came to Save Haiti and Left Behind a Disaster, had this to say about relief efforts in the light of lessons learned after the earthquake – “What needs to happen is that, as in every disaster, there needs to be a serious effort made to ensure that the help that comes builds up the country and does not undercut the country’s institutions.” He and other observers suggest that donors ask questions about where their money will go and prioritize giving to local organizations run by Haitians. As with all of our MFOF donations, donations given in response to the storm will make the most impact as they are spent immediately within the local Haitian community.
Ryan Kenrick, President of Maison Fortune Orphanage Foundation
By now I’m guessing everyone has seen stories and pictures coming out of Haiti showing the devastation left behind by Hurricane Matthew. I’ve received a lot of messages seeking updates on the status of the orphanage so I thought I’d send out a quick post. First, thanks for all of the support and prayers. I’m happy to report that the orphanage was spared any major structural damages and the river did not cause major flooding. That is the good news. The bad news is that we are now experiencing sky-rocketing food and gas prices. We are also bracing ourselves for another influx of children who suddenly have no where else to go. The kids at the orphanage are well cared for, but we operate on a shoe-string budget and simply don’t have resources stockpiled to address catastrophes. In the past we’ve turned to the community for help so I’m hoping you guys will step up again. If you could take a couple of minutes and make a donation to the orphanage I would really appreciate it.
I hate to do it, but imagine if your own child, or grandchild, or niece or nephew were at the orphanage—consider giving as much as you would if that were the scenario.
You guys are great. Thanks.