Our Mission

Attacking Haiti’s extreme poverty one community at a time.

The mission of Healing and Hope for Colminy is to walk beside the people of this destitute community as they seek to create the physical, academic, and spiritual conditions leading to self-sustainability.

Long term mission:

Our name, Healing and Hope for Colminy, succinctly describes the purpose of this project.

Colminy is a dry and destitute rural community. It has long appeared to be among the most impoverished areas of northern Haiti.  This community had no local water supply, no sanitation system, and no health care.  HHC is seeking to assist residents by attacking their extreme poverty at these root-level issues, facilitating and empowering them towards self-sustainability.

First mission accomplished:

Initiated in May 2016, our initial focus was on the nutritional health of young children. We started with a malnutrition treatment clinic. After ministering to 129 children the community of Colminy appears to have no more children in under age 5 with severe nutritional needs!

Second Short-term mission — WASH:

Having spent time in the community we quickly realized that the most pressing need is the elimination of germ-borne illness through clean Water, proper Sanitation, and good Hygiene. Together these three things are known internationally as WASH. Due to their interdependent nature, these three core issues must be attended to in parallel because without toilets, water becomes contaminated; without clean water, basic hygiene is impossible.

Water

Water pumps have never existed in Colminy. They gave up their last drilling effort at 350 feet.  According to a recently found water-table map, aquifers in the area would be at least 600 feet deep. Therefore, we have ruled out wells.

We are currently providing simple but highly effective water filtration systems to families at a significant discount. We are now working to find ways to ease the burden of transporting the unfiltered water from its source nearly 3 miles away. This contaminated water source occasionally dries up. We are doing research and development to extract drinking water from the humid air.

Sanitation

A good toilet, together with a safe reliable water supply and the practice of good personal hygiene can do much to improve personal and family health and wellbeing. There is an urgent need for the construction of simple, low cost, affordable toilets that are easy to build and maintain and are relatively free of odors and flies.* We have introduced the Arborloo concept to Colminy and installed six of them at the school. This system will dramatically improve sanitation and promote tree growth in otherwise depleted soil. Once they are accepted by the adults, many more should be built.

Hygiene

Tippy taps are used throughout the world where poverty is high and access to water is low. The people of Colminy love to have clean hands, so getting them to use them is no problem. The only issue is access to affordable soap.

Health Care

Colminy’s residents do not have private transportation and it’s too far to walk, therefore Colminy’s sick residents must employ motos (notorcycle taxis) and tap-taps (covered pickup trucks serving as buses) to reach the closest health facility. This creates 3 major problems: preventative services are ignored, early interventions are delayed, and crowded tap-taps increases the spread of infections.

We seek to rectify this by expanding the malnutrition clinic into a full-service clinic. HHC would add curative care, immunizations, family planning, pre and postnatal care, etc.  Meanwhile trained Community Health Workers (CHW) would regularly visit neighbors’ homes to identify problems before they exist or exacerbate, educating families on a variety of preventions, and referring them to the clinic as necessary.  CHWs would also lead local women’s groups to share problems, successes, and ideas for improving their lives.

Conclusion

Community empowerment is the goal, not charity. HHC would draw on the best practices in global health coupled with the experiences of Colminy families. Wherever possible we would provide training and employ interested and able residents, supporting the community as they take ownership with dignity, and work towards self-sustainability.

May HHC eventually be known only by its Creole name, Sante ak Espwa pou Colminy.

* from Toilets That Make Compost