Haiti News: Changing Children Within a Community

Growing up in Haiti, Milord was no stranger to need. In his rural home of Petit-Goave, where the average income is barely more than $1 a day, he experienced poverty personally and saw how it affected those most vulnerable, women and children. It became his personal dream to impact his community for good.

When he moved to the city and became part of the Capitol Development Center, he became the leader of the youth club … and decided he wanted to become the leader of the entire child development center so he could help make an impact on his community.

Milord was so committed that he, once a Compassion-sponsored child himself, achieved this mission when he became the director of the Capitol Development Center. He is honored to minister to 450 children through the child sponsorship program and 90 children and caregivers through the Child Survival Program (CSP). His mission is to bring them spiritual, socio-emotional and economic change.

Milord has now been successfully working as the center director for eight years. He became director just several years after graduating from the program himself, having studied social work and theology at the university.

As director, Milord has many responsibilities. He supervises all center activities, ensuring they are well implemented, and plans programs with the staff. Milord also mentors the teachers, reminding them of their duties to protect children’s rights.

Besides planning and training, he maintains contact with the children and parents to monitor their needs and influence changes in their lives. Through this he assesses what the needs are and creates appropriate programs. In his interactions, he challenges the parents to value children and protect them from abuse.

Milord also encourages children to participate in spiritual activities and helps them to develop leadership skills at an early age. Lastly, stimulating children to maintain good relationships with their sponsors through quality correspondence is also part of his duties.

These are just some of the ways Milord ensures the mission of developing children is happening at his child development center. Milord gains motivation for his mission to change lives through the knowledge that his work is not in vain.

One particular experience helped teach him this. A sponsored child named Idline was severely ill with convulsive attacks. Among Voodoo worshipers in Haiti, convulsive attacks are big signs of Satan’s attack and force parents to offer sacrifices.

As Idline’s parents were not Christians, they took the child to a Voodoo priest in the countryside to be cured. Unfortunately, the child’s situation became worse.

After their vain efforts to save Idline’s life, the mother decided to take the child to a child development center activity called: “Moment of Decision,” a spiritual activity held in all Compassion-assisted centers to challenge the children to experience God.

Bibles are distributed to children, and they spend time together praying, worshiping and sharing testimonies. Many Compassion children have accepted Christ at this activity.

When children are told about Christ, small groups are formed for a moment of decision, a moment of counseling and motivation for children to experience God. After a moment of prayer, Idline recovered her consciousness and the convulsive attack stopped.

As a result, she accepted Christ as her personal Savior by the end of the event. Currently, Idline is in good health and, thanks to that experience, her mother and her twin sister have also accepted Christ as their personal Savior. Milord says,

“That vivid example has motivated me to be more committed to ministry to children. I feel that my effort as a director is not in vain. I am striving for changes in children’s lives within the community.

“I am committed to see that my work bears fruit in the life of the children and parents; this will be my greatest satisfaction. I do not expect anything in return from the children or parents, but the reward is God’s blessings.”

Milord is finding that his mission is more a ministry than just a paying job. His greatest dream is to ensure that all 450 child development center children, plus the 90 CSP children and caregivers, succeed and become real agents of change.

He wants them to grow with love for their community in particular and for the country in general.
Success for Milord is that the children grow with fear for God, dignity, independence and a capacity to have an impact on others.

“My dream is that all these children become self-supported with a skill to use in life, a trade to function with a spirit of service to God and to their community. I dream that these children will improve their life condition at all levels.”

Individual attention is given to each child, helping all know their value. Playing with the children makes them feel important. In Haiti, many parents from the lower class never play with their children, thinking that playing with children provokes disrespect. So playing with the teachers and directors becomes very important for the children to learn they are valued.

Children are sometimes carried in the director’s arms in order for them to feel secure. The director shows concern in the way he feeds them. Building the children’s social skills and self-esteem is a key part of the child development center.

During Christmas season, children are given the opportunity to develop their talents on stage in the presence of their parents or guardians. The children exchange gifts.

And each year in commemoration of International Children’s Day, various activities take place in order to raise awareness of the need for the child development center staff and parents to care for and advocate for children.

Another important part of the children’s development at the program is the letters from sponsors. “It is crucial that the sponsors regularly write to their children and visit them when they can,” says Milord.

Milord confesses that sponsors’ letters can change the life of a child forever.

“A sponsor’s letter makes the child feel that they are not alone. The child feels that they have an obligation to do well in school and to behave at home in order to make their sponsor happy.

“It is certain that the sponsor does not replace the parents; but as any parent, the sponsor plays a great role in the success of a child’s life through letters of encouragement and photos.”

Being a child development director doesn’t come without challenges. The socio-economic situation prevalent in the country is an obstacle to child development. For instance, in a family of 10 children, there is chance for three to be enrolled in the Compassion program.

Milord tells about one child from the child development center who suffered from malnutrition. The center staff made acquisition of nutritional food supplies for that child to last several days as to improve his health condition.


But the director was surprised to see during a home visit that all the food supplies were used in just one day by the whole family.

This situation is very common among families with several children. The living conditions of the families make it difficult to have an impact on the life of one single child from many others.

Another challenge is cultural. Some parents accept poverty as a normal condition of life. Milord says,

“Despite all our efforts to bring in the change, some parents seem to be in their comfort zone; they are, unfortunately, not ready to move out.”

In Haiti, it is very difficult to bring people who are poor back to school to learn a vocation, especially when they already have children. Some of them think that since they have children there is no chance to move forward.

Milord finds it difficult to have the participation of most women in the sewing class, although it is free and would generate a good income for parents in the long run. A vivid example is the non-formal vocational program for parents at the center. Some parents are more interested in receiving gifts and support than to practice activities that generate income.

Despite the challenges, there is also great satisfaction in directing at the development center.

“One of the things that has had an impact on me the most is that 50 percent of the staff are former Compassion students.”

When Milord was first transferred to the child development center, it was very difficult for the church to find human resources in the community to run both the center and the school.

Milord believes that those 450 children from the child development center will continue to learn to have a positive and durable impact on the community, just as he learned himself.

5 Comments |Add a comment

  1. Avatar
    meganshuang January 25, 2010

    all the people worldwide, sympathizes about what happen to the Haitians community, that’s why we made a video about that tragedy to spread the word

  2. Avatar
    Dave Fackler January 6, 2010

    Brother Ephraim,

    Our mutual friend Bill Van Steenis speaks very highly of your God-given calling. If the Lord gives opportunity, we may meet and pray and worship and serve together.

    Thanking God for your calling and service for Christ!
    Dave Fackler – Holland, MI

  3. Avatar
    bill van Steenis January 6, 2010

    My friend Ephraim. This is a well written article. I will post it on my facebook page. I pray that some people will sponsor children because of what you have written.


  4. Avatar
    Melissa January 30, 2009

    The writers of the blog on child poverty do a great job of showing how many children are malnourished and often times do not even get to eat for days at a time. The pictures that are displayed on this website say more than even words can explain. There are statistics provided that demonstrates the appalling life style these innocent children are faced with each day. This site is a Christian Blog were a team of writers add stories about the poverty situations in different areas of the world. I believe that the blog is maintained to inform readers that there are problems like this in the United States. Not every person is fortunate enough to eat every day. I wish that a video would be provided on this site that showed a brief day in the life of a child in poverty.
    This site appeals to the people who want to make a difference in this world and put an end to poverty. These children have done nothing to deserve these kinds of conditions. They are not only faced with starvation, but their health is now affected. Their parents try to provide food for them, but finding a good job is nearly impossible. On this site, you are able to sponsor a child. They provide some background on the child and you have the opportunity to select that individual or pick another one. Readers are able to leave comments on the stories that are posted. After reading a story, you can rate the material on a scale of one to five. There is an area on the site were the highest rated post are listed for you. It is very easy to follow the website and all the great information that is provided for you.
    There are numerous stories provided on this site of different situations in different parts of the world. The images show the pain these children are experiencing. They cannot perform their everyday activities because they have not eaten in several days. I believe that this site is more appealing to readers because it deals with kids who are faced with extremely horrific situations every day of their life. These kids are born into these situations and are never given the opportunity to better their lives.
    This blog should make people be extremely thankful for everything they have. We do not even know what it would be like to go a day without food. We need to make a stand to end poverty and provide equally for everyone in this world. There is not one person better than anyone else because God created us all equally. Everyone needs to accept the fact that we do have situations in the world like this. It will take everyone to make a difference. A person could donate a penny a day and in one year have donated $365. We live in a world of such advanced technology and somehow cannot figure out how to take care of all of our people.

    Works Cited
    “Releasing Children from Poverty:Compassion in Jesus’ Name.” 21 Jan 2009. 20 Jan. 2009. .

  5. Avatar
    Juli Jarvis January 23, 2009

    How exciting to read about the activities of formerly sponsored children like Milford and his staff! We thank you for your devotion to children, and for carrying out the great commission through Compassion’s sponsorship program. I have sponsored two children in Haiti, so I love hearing about this country.

Add a Comment