The worldwide effort to stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus must involve everyone, but not everyone is equally equipped. Compassion’s church partners in Haiti are facing that reality head on—working hard to serve children and families who don’t have access to the resources needed to navigate this pandemic.
A lack of access to clean, running water was a major issue for many communities in Haiti even before the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, water scarcity is an even bigger issue.
“Everyone talks about washing their hands to prevent the spread of COVID-19 but finding water to do it is complicated in our community,” says 12-year-old Compassion beneficiary, Jean.
Compassion’s local church partners are responding to this quickly and creatively. They are working hard to make soap and buckets of clean water available to Compassion beneficiaries, families and their neighbours.
Additionally, Compassion centres are being equipped to make their own hand sanitizer. One centre has produced thousands of bottles of hand sanitizer. They are now working on passing their learning to other Compassion centres in the country. “Hand sanitizers are a very affordable option to give to [families],” says Jean.
Compassion centres are also raising awareness about stopping the spread of COVID-19—an effort made more challenging because not every family has consistent access to technology, with frequent power outages.
“It is important to keep people focused and informed on the important rules to follow during the pandemic,” says Eunel, a Compassion staff member, “[But] not all of them have a phone or electricity to get it charged every day. So, we try to remind them in different ways about the danger of COVID-19.”
Those different and creative ways include putting up handmade posters in prominent locations in the neighbourhood, complete with catchy local phrases and clear language.
Families are also navigating the cancellation of in-person church services, an important part of many of their daily lives. But church leaders and Compassion staff are encouraging caregivers to use this time to get closer to God together as a family.
“The presence of the Lord can fill any empty space anywhere. Don’t let this temporary situation take you away from His grace,” says Lubin, a director of a Compassion centre in Haiti.
Julica, a mother of a Compassion beneficiary, was grieved to hear about the church’s closure. However, she has been ensuring to worship at home with her four children. “We pray together as a family, read the Bible, then praise the Lord with song and worship,” she says.
It is a difficult time for many who were already facing difficulty. But Compassion staff, like Lubin, are committed to serving their communities in practical ways through this crisis. “Saving lives can be easy if we start to take some simple actions daily. That’s what we are trying to teach to people while we provide the means to help them make it real,” he says.
Please keep the Compassion Haiti team in your prayers as they work to continue supporting the children in Compassion’s programs. For our most up-to-date information on COVID-19, please visit our updates page.
You can help families affected by COVID-19 through our Disaster Relief Fund.
By Erick Jura and Alyssa Esparaz