Bethlehem Ministry and Esperance-et Vie, our on-the-ground sister organization in Terrier Rouge, Haiti, have for more than 35 years successfully helped rural Haitians address the region’s deeply entrenched poverty and dearth of opportunity.
As Bethlehem Ministry’s incoming board president I am excited, honored, and inspired. I became involved with Bethlehem Ministry almost a decade ago when I joined in a project to help farmers readopt traditional cash crops and to both feed their families and to sell to their neighbors. And on reforestation, to mitigate erosion on their hillside farms, while developing long-term income in the form of fruits, nuts, oilseeds, and lumber. Experiencing what we collectively accomplish in Terrier Rouge was transformative. Waking each morning to the arrival of almost 1,000 enthusiastic students assembling from the surrounding, grindingly poor neighborhoods, watching the long quay of patients waiting to be seen by clinic staff, and most especially working alongside Haitian farmers was inspiring.
The average Haitian has no more than an 8th-grade education; for women, this number is closer to 4th grade. Haiti’s public education system ranks an abysmal 177th of 186 internationally. College St. Barthélémy is an educational bulwark, it provides quality pre-K through grade 13 education to almost 1,000 of Haiti’s most educationally vulnerable children. Children attending St. Barthélémy, and their families, also receive free medical care. And in a community where food insecurity is distressingly common, each child receives a nutritious meal daily. Educational sponsorships are a proven investment in the future of Haiti. For less than a dollar a day ($300/year) you can provide a child with food, education, and healthcare!
Clinique Esperance-et-Vie, which averages some 12,000 patient visits annually, provides medical, dental, ophthalmic, gynecological care, and family planning, along with a crucial early childhood nutrition program. Medical care in rural Haiti, if available, is very often remedial. Clinique Esperance-et-Vie provides quality, basic care on a sliding fee scale--with no one turned away--for the greater Terrier Rouge community. The Clinic is on a steady upward progression, it recently received funding for a sight-saving cataract surgical suite and to upgrade the ophthalmic unit’s 20- to 30-year-old equipment. We are actively seeking support to add a second building as the clinic has long since outgrown its existing facility.
Jatrofa Projenou (JP) develops economic opportunity by helping farmers through the challenging transition to well-adapted, traditional edible crops. Haiti is extremely mountainous. Once home to lush tropical hardwood forests, Haiti is now the most heavily deforested country in the world; environmental degradation is massive. JP’s skilled, young Haitian professionals are providing the knowledge and economic assistance for farmers to return to crops that take care of their land, feed their families, and provide produce for sale. Reforestation efforts are mitigating erosion on steep, hillside farms while beginning to produce fruits, nuts, and lumber. We believe that to help herself--Haiti, once the breadbasket of the Caribbean, must develop economic opportunity in its rural countryside and become food self-sufficient.
In closing, we very sincerely thank you for your help. Bethlehem Ministry and our on-the-ground partners in Terrier Rouge have for 35+ years helped the impoverished citizens of northeastern Haiti help themselves by providing health care, quality education, nurture of local economic development, and as-need humanitarian aid. We have a very positive track record and the needs are, if anything, greater than ever. If you have the means to be more generous, we hope you consider doing so. Ideally think about joining our Sustainers Circle [bethlehemmistry.com, Donate] which is a commitment to monthly giving. While we are genuinely grateful for each dollar, I’m sure you can see how even modest monthly gifts, especially undesignated gifts that allow us to spend where our needs are greatest, help us make the most of each dollar.
Again, thank you for your support!
President, Board of Directors