Presbyterian World Mission has two mission co-workers living and working Haiti who assist our partners in carrying out their missions in this island nation. One works with Joining Hands, a hunger program, and the other serves as an agricultural specialist. In addition to the steady presence of mission co-workers, Presbyterian Disaster Assistance responded to the call for help in Haiti following the 2010 earthquake that struck the capital city of Port au Prince and the surrounding area. The earthquake dealt a devastating blow to what was already one of the most impoverished countries in the Western Hemisphere. We continue to help the country rebuild alongside our partner church, the Episcopal Diocese of Haiti, and other partner organizations. The PC(USA) has been involved in Haiti for many years.
Cindy Corell, mission co-worker
Based in Port au Prince, Haiti, as a Joining Hands network companionship facilitator, Cindy Corell connects presbyteries and churches in the United States with a network of churches, grassroots groups, and nongovernmental organizations in Haiti. Around the world, Joining Hands networks strive to alleviate poverty and suffering through community education, advocacy, alternative economic activities, lifestyle changes, and spiritual grounding. The goal is to restore the wholeness of God‘s creation and the healing of the human family through prayer, mutual visits, humble accompaniment, repentance, and mutual transformation. Presbyterian World Mission assigns mission personnel to help facilitate this effort, which is a ministry of the Presbyterian Hunger Program.
Write to Cindy at email@example.com
Mark Hare and Jenny Bent’s ministry with Haitian people transcends international borders. Since 2004 Mark has worked with Mouvman Peyizan Papay (MPP), a grassroots movement whose goal is to help small farmers improve their living conditions. Mark and Jenny are helping Haitians learn to grow a lot of food on a small amount of land. Jenny began working with the organization as a volunteer after their marriage in 2008, but in 2012 their ministry base moved just across the border to Barahona, Dominican Republic. Mark continues his work in Haiti, but Jenny came under mission appointment and began a new ministry with Haitians in the Dominican Republic.
Jenny helps the Evangelical Dominican Church with its health ministries in the bateys, company towns largely populated by Haitian sugarcane workers.
Mark’s work in Haiti demands resourcefulness. One of the most popular agricultural techniques he teaches involves making miniature garden plots inside discarded auto tires. “In the dry season, there is no rain for five to seven months and people run out of food,” Mark says. “So the tires are a way that they can produce something even during the time when they normally couldn’t.”
This and other productive practices developed by MPP helped rural Haitians feed family members and friends who fled to the countryside after the 2010 earthquake devastated Port au Prince.
Communities in the Dominican Republic are also trying to cope with the large number of Haitians who fled the earthquake’s devastation. Violence between Haitians and Dominicans is not uncommon. In addition to her health care ministry, Jenny also wants to be a witness for reconciliation. “My vision is that our Dominican neighbors, friends and colleagues will recognize the inherent dignity of Haitians, and that our Haitian friends and colleagues will recognize the inherent dignity of Dominicans.”
This church first began its ministry in 1861 when Theodore James Holly, a black American Episcopal priest born of free parents, emigrated to Haiti. Holly, who had had a parish in New Haven, Connecticut, traveled to Haiti with 110 black Episcopalians in search of a country where black people could be free from the racial prejudices of the United States. Since its establishment in 1874, the Episcopal Diocese of Haiti always has emphasized health and education. This is evidenced by
the schools and health programs in almost every parish and by the number of programs administered within the church: Hopital Sainte Croix, Saint Vincent’s School for Handicapped Children, the Comprehensive Development Project, Covenant Hospital of Mombin Crochu, St.Barnabas Agricultural School in Terrier Rouge and Holy Spirit Vocational School in Cap Haitian.
Mouvman Peyizan Papay
Haiti’s oldest and largest peasant association, MPP relates to the PC(USA) through the Presbyterian Hunger Program. Since 1973, the movement has been working in the Central Plateau. MPP works in a number of areas: agricultural and husbandry development, women’s groups, youth groups, literacy, organizational training for associations, farmers’ associations, cooperatives, and microenterprise.
FONDAMA, the Presbyterian Hunger Program’s Joining Hands network in Haiti works to “restore the Haitian environment toward food sovereignty and sustainability.” FONDAMA, known by its Creole acronym for Fondasyon Men A Men d’Ayiti (The Hand to Hand Foundation of Haiti) wants to secure food sovereignty through advocacy, in efforts to identify and campaign against root causes of hunger.
Cindy Corell, mission co-worker, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Haiti Mission Network is among more than 40 networks that connect Presbyterians who share a common mission interest. Most participants are involved in mission partnerships through congregations, presbyteries or synods. Network members come together to coordinate efforts, share best practices and develop strategies.
Visit the network’s Facebook page here: www.facebook.com/groups/HaitiMissionNetworkPCUSA/
Education has been identified as a root cause of poverty, one of our denomination’s Critical Global Issues. In Haiti, churches and other groups can partner with Episcopal schools and other Episcopal institutions.