Christmas Day

For People wanting a Fair Share

The people who live on the island of La Gonâve in Haiti are sometimes forgotten even when disasters strike. They work hard for everything they have. Many cannot grow enough food to feed their families on their tiny plots of land. Overfishing has robbed the ocean of fish and sea life. Making charcoal is a common source of income. With few trees left, topsoil washes into the sea and moisture evaporates. Over the years, people have used up many of the island’s resources – some have left.

Haiti’s capital city Port-au-Prince is teeming with life. Decades of exploitation, violence and bad government have forced tens of thousands of Haitians into the city desperate for work and opportunity. Nothing comes easy and the people have to be ever more resourceful to survive. When a magnitude 7 earthquake hit in 2010, many lost everything. Some returned home to La Gonâve putting more pressure on their families – few relief supplies arrived on the island.

Earthquakes and poverty are not the only destructive forces in Haiti. Two years ago, Hurricane Matthew swept across the island, destroying homes and crops. Fallen trees and flooding caused more damage. The people were left dazed and in shock after three days of frightening weather.

On La Gonâve, Aimee (not her real name) and her family survived the storm. They salvaged what they could, finding a little food and some fallen timber that would help provide shelter. They shared what they had with neighbours but there was seldom enough.

The local member of ACT Alliance (Action by Churches Together) was their lifeline, distributing tools and seeds, and offering agricultural training in their community. Aimee’s family received a donkey, enabling them to collect water from a faraway stream much more quickly than on foot.

In rural Haiti, a donkey or horse is a sign of prosperity. Without one or the money to hire such transport, a man or woman must carry everything up the country’s rugged hills on their backs. Something the very wealthy would never do.

Haiti may be poor, but it also one of the most unequal countries on the planet. Nearly 60% of the population lives on less than US$2 a day. A small number of people and transnational corporations dominate the local economy. Giving rural families the support they need to improve livelihoods and send their children to school can be the first step to a fairer society. We will leave no one behind.

Be the Lifeline to people without food, education and opportunity.  Donate now to the Christmas Appeal.

ACT Alliance and ICKL

When there is a natural disaster, CWS works through local partners first and/or through ACT Alliance. There are times when CWS sends funding through both organisations as happened after the 2010 Haiti earthquake. Our partner the Institut Culturel Karl Lévêque (ICKL) lost its building in the quake and staff had their own families to look after in the first few weeks. Thanks to your generous donations, CWS could give funding to help those affected through ACT Alliance and ICKL.ICKL is a proudly Haitian organisation working alongside other Haitian groups to create a future where the local people come first. They have the skills and deep knowledge to help communities achieve their own priorities where no government assistance is available. ICKL is the cornerstone of a network of Haitian run organisations helping each other to improve their lives. In a country made dependent on outside aid, ICKL strengthens local Haitians to do the work they know needs to be done. No matter whether natural disaster or political turmoil, they offer rural Haitians a hope that is their own.

ICKL plays a facilitating role, bringing communities together to work out their common needs and finding ways forward. Their work is driven by the communities and includes:

  • Income generation
  • Education through four schools involving payment for school teachers, classroom furniture and supplies, books for students, teacher training and securing an income to meet running costs through community bakeries and grain mills (pictured below)
  • Disaster response by addressing the needs of affected communities and finding the best way to help with very limited funds.
  • Advocacy for Haitians and on peasant issues, including community based social analysis and promotion of better government
  • Community education
  • Training for other Haitian groups through the annual popular university.

Reduced Inequalities

The 2018 Appeal puts the spotlight on our responsibilities to each other and the planet our home.  In 2015, the United Nations agreed to a new agenda for sustainable development made up of 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

Goal 10 recognises the need for fairer access to the world’s resources  to achieve the core commitment to ‘leave no one behind’.  Already there are some worrying trends: world hunger has been increasing for the last three years and the number of refugees and displaced people is rising.  Last year, Oxfam reported eight men owned the same wealth as 3.6 billion people, half the world’s population.  Large disparities between people’s ability to access healthcare, education and basic human rights undermine efforts to achieve all the SDGs.

This goal aims to improve incomes for the bottom 40% in a population, stop discrimination and provide equal opportunities, and increase Offficial Development Assistance (ODA) and financial flows to the poorest countries.  It covers fair and well-managed migration flows and to cut the cost of remittances.  Without meeting this goal, millions of people will continue to be left behind.

Join the Lifeline so all people have food, water, dignity and lives free of violence. Leave no one behind. Support the Christmas Appeal.

Photos: CWS and ACT Alliance/Paul Jeffrey

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