Wednesday, July 25, 2012
Solutions From Science Welcomes Heart of God Haiti
By Michael Ireland
Senior International Correspondent, ASSIST News Service
THOMSON, IL (ANS) -- Heart of God Haiti International Ministries (HGIM), based in Willard, OH, a 501c3 organized and governed by a nationwide staff of volunteers, originally began working as a school in the Port Au Prince, capital of Haiti.
A refugee camp was initially set up near Port Au Prince providing life’s essentials to men, women and children.
During the past two years, the focus has returned to investing in the lives of children so they don’t become victims of the culture and violence.
Several miles away from the Port Au Prince area is a village nestled in the mountainside where children are being nurtured and given an opportunity to grow in a solid Christian environment. However, being in the mountains creates logistics problems as the roads are limited and sometimes impassable during the rainy season.
David Young, Executive Director of Heart of God Haiti International Ministries (HGIM), recently described living conditions in Haiti after more than two years since the earthquake.
“Refugee camps are still operating, and a lot of rubble has been removed, but even with our coordinated efforts with other agencies and non-governmental organizations, progress is very slow in this devastated region,” he said.
Young said the level of destruction in Haiti is incredible and is made more difficult by political issues leading to ongoing.
“Violent crime in Port Au Prince includes murder and kidnapping. The risk of human trafficking is extremely high throughout the country. As the earthquake relief efforts declined, people became more desperate. When people become desperate from things like a shortage of food, the gang members closed off the roads and controlled who would get the food.
“Some of our own people have been robbed, ambushed, and even murdered by gang members. This isn’t just immediately after the earthquake; this is happening even now. Haiti is a very dangerous country and why we feel strongly about rescuing children who have no support system in place to protect them and give them hope for a future without violence.”
Young explained, “There are 15 boys and 19 girls between the ages of 3 to 10 years, plus 6 staff in the location that is about 6000 ft. above sea level. There is a church, a local school, and a cistern and well. The kids are in much better health now.
“As our missionary, Scott Ingram, is working at the orphanage, the children will spontaneously break out into song expressing their gratefulness for help and thankfulness to God for His provision.”
The main challenges that remain in Haiti after the earthquake are civil unrest, funding, and the complete lack of infrastructure, Young stated.
“Our orphanage is a case study in living off the grid. There is no grid there. We are so far up in the mountains, there is no electricity, no running water, no plumbing. The well is dry and needs to be dug deeper. Clean water is hard to come by.”
Support from sponsors costs as little as $1 per day. Heart of God Haiti’s goals include helping the older kids develop skills so that they can work and be self-reliant in order to set examples for others to follow.
They are working toward obtaining a Certificate of Orphanage from the Haitian government, which is hard to get because of the government’s fear of the human trafficking risk. It’s a slow and expensive process.
At the newly opened Heirloom Market and Café in Thomson, IL on Thursday, July 12, 2012, Bill Heid, CEO of Solutions From Science (SFS), welcomed back Young, and Jan Ross, President of Heart of God International Ministries (HGIM), to express their 2-year support of the vision of Heart of God Haiti.
SFS, which is based in Thomson, offers a variety of unique products created specifically for those who seek alternative ways to “get off the grid,” was recognized for their humanitarian efforts in support of Haiti, one of the most impoverished countries on earth, a country that is literally off the grid.
SFS has been a supporter of the Heart of God International Ministries for over two years. During this period, the work of Heart of God Ministries International, specifically in Haiti, has seen some changes that target orphans and those affected by the extreme poverty in that country as a result of the culture and further exacerbated by the devastating earthquake in 2010.
In a presentation to the employees of SFS, Young, who is a business owner of Young and Company CPAs LLP in Rochester, NY, expressed his gratitude for the partnership that has developed between their two organizations.
“This partnership not only benefits the work we do in Haiti, but also gives Solutions From Science a means to invest in humanitarian aid in support of a country that has been devastated,” Young said.
“SFS donated a solar generator to Camp Victory refugee camp near Port Au Prince after the earthquake. There was no power. The generator was essential for the operation of our communications equipment, and it ran the reverse osmosis system that filtered and cleaned our water supply. When the cholera epidemic spread throughout the region, our people remained healthy with no fatalities; we attribute this directly to each of you. What you are doing has literally saved lives,” he said.
Addressing the SFS employees, Jan Ross said there have been many changes since the last time they were in Carroll County and addressed Heid and the employees of SFS.
“Good things are happening, thanks to you and your dedication to the company. The work you do is worth a lot more than just the paycheck you get. Your work has an eternal impact on people in Haiti. We want you to understand that we appreciate every one of you. You do make a difference in the lives of people you may never meet but who are alive today because of your dedication and commitment,” she said.
Young and Ross presented Heid with a Certificate acknowledging his acceptance of a position on the Advisory Board of Heart of God Haiti.
Young said, “Bill, you’ve been a God-send to us. It’s a miracle that we even met you; you’ve been with us through thick and thin during some very hard times, and we appreciate your commitment to be with us as we move forward.”
“One of the things that struck me this morning was after speaking with Jan about when she leaves Haiti after being with the children,” Heid said.
“When she looks into their eyes, she sees her grandkids, and she couldn’t hold back the tears.”
Heid said Ross told him, “I could see my grandkids walking around here and it breaks my heart to think that these children have no one to love them, no one to embrace them, and no hope for a better future.
Heid commented: “The difference between those kids we saw in the video and my grandkids, and all of you, comes down to one thing -- God’s grace. We have been the recipient of a lot of things in this country, but God’s grace is the most remarkable of all.”
As partners, Heid, Young and Ross will be discussing future plans for the work in Haiti, and how they can effectively offer stronger support for both the humanitarian and spiritual efforts in Haiti.
Young also explained how life in Haiti is a microcosm of what life in the US might be like should our financial and/or political infrastructure collapse.
A special trip is being arranged for Young and Heid to visit the work in Haiti and consider how SFS might establish the orphanage as an off the grid pilot project.
Kim Heid presented a check for $5,000 to Young on behalf of Solutions From Science.
You can learn more about Heart of God Haiti on their website at http://heartofgodhaiti.org where you can sign up for their newsletter, and read frequent blog updates.
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