On the 15th of this month, volunteers from Louth departed on their 10th trip to Haiti as part of Haven, an Irish non-governmental organisation which is committed to building strong livelihoods for the people of that country.
Aislinn McCooey, David McCooey and Ciara McCooey, all from Co. Louth, along with 27 other volunteers from all over Ireland, will travel to the small rural community of Fond-Parisien, which is located an hour outside the capital Port-au-Prince.
The main focus for this year’s trip is a local school in rural Haiti. The school has up to 500 children enrolled from the local community. It is the only school in the area that offers free education and a daily meal. Volunteers will build three new classrooms and repair existing classrooms in the school on their trip. They will also run a three day summer camp for all the children with sports and educational games, as well as arts and crafts.
The volunteers will also carry out maintenance work on Hope House Haiti, a foster home for 32 children founded after the devastating tragedy that was the 2010 earthquake.
“It is important that we acknowledge the great work carried out by Haven’s volunteers in Haiti”, stated Leslie Buckley, Founder and chairman of Haven.
“I have always had great admiration for the volunteers and their commitment to Haven and Haiti. For 30 people from every walk of life to give up their time to travel to Haiti and work in the sweltering heat for 10 days is something to be proud of. They are making a real and meaningful contribution to the lives of the children in the school and the far reaching communities. Each and every town in Ireland should be proud of the volunteers for their humanitarian efforts in Haiti.”
Haven carry out work solely in Haiti to facilitate the provision of sanitised water, training and education, and shelter solutions for natives. Haven works in partnership with the Government of Haiti, as well as other NGO's and participants.
Launched in 2009, they quickly expanded from a house-building charity to one providing emergency relief . That catastrophic events of the 2010 earthquake, re-shaped and strengthened the role of the organisation today. Haven often reviews their programme due to ongoing turmoil in Haiti, in order to provide the best assistance possible.
“Our vision is to build thriving, sustainable communities which prosper self-sufficiently, and in which every person has a safe place to call home, as well as the means to provide for their families. While we are always moving closer to making that the reality, there is further still to go”.
Ciara McCooey, a volunteer with Haven stated: “I am a long term volunteer with Haven and have seen first-hand the benefits of the work Haven carries out on the ground in Haiti. I think this trip will be very rewarding, and I look forward to building a place that the local community will benefit from for years to come.”
So far, Haven has helped thousands of Haitians by creating sustainable social enterprise, strengthening skills and education, and empowering families to live free from poverty. Since its establishment, Haven has trained over 78,000 Haitians; brought over 1,400 volunteers to built and upgraded for over 19,800 people, and directly employed over 1,200 Haitian people.
If you would be interested in becoming a volunteer, or would like to help in the fundraisiing of future volunteer trips, visit www.havenpartnership.com.