Relief for Haiti: Transitioning to Longer-Term Solutions

While we continue delivering food and supply kits to our church partners for the immediate relief of the families they serve, we are beginning to shift our focus from short-term relief to longer-term solutions.

One possible component of a larger strategic approach includes working with other organizations in Haiti to implement income-generating activities for those who have lost homes, property and the means to provide for themselves.

Beginning in March and continuing every three months, we will begin hosting conferences and workshops for key church leaders in Haiti. We not only want to encourage them, but we also want to challenge them to be a prophetic voice during this time.

Edouard Lassegue, Vice President of the Central America and Caribbean Region says,

“Compassion has earned respect in Haiti and we are uniquely positioned to leverage that respect and the strong relationships we have developed with church leaders. We want to use our credibility to encourage them to be a voice for what is right, for service, for responsibility — that is what is required in a time like this.”

As far as the children themselves, safety is our top priority. Until children and their families can move back into permanent dwellings, protecting them in the tent cities is essential.

“The way these children are exposed and vulnerable is getting a lot of publicity. We are ramping up awareness among our church partners — things to look for and be ready for and ways to prepare the children themselves so they do not fall prey.”

Getting the children back into school is also a key step in returning normalcy to their lives. The Haitian government has set March 1 as a possible day for schools to resume, and we are helping our church partners work toward that goal for as many of the sponsored children as possible.

We are working with Engineering Ministries International (EMI) to assess the buildings of church partners that were damaged by the earthquake. We are committed to their repair, and EMI will help us design new buildings and facilities that are earthquake safe.

Until the buildings can be repaired or built, children may meet in tents. Many of them are still afraid to go into buildings, and our priority is to give them some sense of routine and normalcy.

Our staff in Haiti continues the difficult process of taking a census of each and every registered child who was “significantly affected” by the earthquake. Staff members are back in the office building and doing some regular activities, which has helped them to focus on what needs to be done and not think of the hardship as much.

To assist our staff during the grieving process,

“We are deploying a team of counselors from Haiti and south Florida —Haitian Americans who understand the language and the culture — who can talk with people directly and in groups about what they can expect as they work through this, and how to help their families and beneficiaries. We are aware of the fact that it will be quite awhile for them to get back to where they were.”

As great as their sense of loss is their sense of gratitude for all the support and generosity they have received from around the world.

Please continue to pray for our staff members, that they would be a blessing to others and not lose heart, and that in spite of their own pain, they are bearing fruit and making a difference.

Pray as well for our first church conference the week of March 8. Pray that the church in Haiti raises a banner of direction and hope for the future of the country.

11 Comments |Add a comment

  1. Mary in WA February 26, 2010

    I hope we’ll be able to keep EMI in Haiti as long as possible, hopefully not only until all of our partners have safe homes, but until ALL have safe homes.

  2. Amy Wallace February 24, 2010

    Thanks for the update!

  3. Juli Jarvis February 19, 2010

    Thank you for the detailed update on Haiti. I was wondering if the country staff were still working outside, or what they were using for shelter. I continue praying for them always.

  4. Vicki Small February 19, 2010

    Thank you, Chris. As soon as I learned–from Scott Todd’s post, I think–about their situation, I knew that Compassion would not let their dreams die. I knew the conversation would take place, and I appreciate your telling us what you could.

    P.S. Blessings on your upcoming trip!

  5. Vicki Small February 19, 2010

    I’m wondering how the discussion is going at the GMC and in Haiti about getting the LDP students back on track with their education–those, for instance, whose university was flattened.

    1. Chris Giovagnoni February 19, 2010


      We’re still looking for solutions. We’re looking at placing students in other universities throughout Haiti. We’re considering online-options, and/or meaningful internship and employment options until November when the next academic year begins. We’re pretty much considering any potential opportunity. But that’s all I know at this time.

  6. Michelle Wright February 19, 2010

    I don’t doubt, for even a second, that Jesus remains at the center of EVERYthing that Compassion does. Prayer is involved, church activities are involved, and Jesus is involved.

  7. Compassion dave February 19, 2010

    No worries Shawn–like you, I have no doubts about Jesus being at the very core of the Compassion ministry, but when formulating such a significant public report regarding Haiti’s long-term cure, Jesus Christ must be in the meat of the article.

    Because we know Compassion, we know Jesus is there, but for the person who does not know Compassion, it would serve the minstry well to elaborate, otherwise we might send the wrong message.

    My original exhortation was not posted in anger, so I am sorry I angered you (again).

  8. Shawn February 19, 2010


    @Dave… have a look, it says “In Jesus Name” at the top of every single page. And it’s on every piece of paper compassion uses.

    I’d say that’s pretty obvious and forthright in declaring Jesus as the mission of Compassion.

    What this says to me is someone who calls them-self “Compassion Dave” is not very clear on the mission of Compassion, because it appears you have doubts that Jesus would be at the center of the work they are doing in Haiti.

    I viewed your recent tweets, you didn’t say Jesus in every one.

    I have no doubts Jesus is at the center of what Compassion is doing in Haiti or any where else in the world, they don’t need to explain that to me with every single update they post.

    Sometimes information, analysis and strategy is needed to be able to take Jesus’ name and the Gospel into impoverished areas.

  9. Compassion dave February 19, 2010

    As an advocate with Compassion, I know Jesus Christ is the rock upon which the Compassion ministry is built and I suspect the web-team would agree. However, in a piece regarding Compassion’s long-term solutions in Haiti, I do not see our Lord’s name mentioned once.

    I realize there is a tendency for Compassionites to omit Jesus Christ from our discussions occasionally because it is a given He is in our midst, however in the public forum, this might not be the case–everyone needs to know that Jesus Christ is the reason we do what we do. Therefore, no matter how obvious His presence is in our lives or our ministries, we must endeavor always to put Him in the center of the discussion.

    The fact of the matter is all the money, all the training, all the support in the world cannot fix Haiti’s biggest problem if Jesus Christ is not in the mix.

    In love…cd

  10. Derek February 19, 2010

    This article has several superb hints, they have got really made it easier for my family

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