The needs of Haiti’s children - by Mark Ottenweller

"Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." ~ Jesus (Matthew 19:14)

Before the January 12 earthquake, UNICEF reported that there were over 380,000 orphans in Haiti. Even then the facts were startling:

• Only half of these children will ever attend primary school
• A mere 2% graduated from high school
• More than 60% lack basic health services.
• UNICEF estimates that over 2,000 children each year are trafficked through the Dominican Republic for sexual abuse

These statistics were established before the earthquake. Just imagine plight of Haiti’s little ones today after 230,000 deaths in Port-au-Prince!

Parents in Haiti have the same hopes and dreams for their offspring as you do for yours... Sickness and illness don’t stop them from hoping, wishing and dreaming.

The children of Haiti have the same desires as our own children... fun, games, parties, cartoons and television. They like ice cream, cookies, hot dogs and hamburgers. Birthday gifts and presents at Christmas. Hugs and kisses. They need reassuring words like, “You did well on your test.” “Good grade.” Having best friends spend the night or to hang out with. They have dreams of an education, which they probably want more than our kids, plus the ability to read in a country where only half have the ability.

Parents in Haiti have the same hopes and dreams for their offspring as you do for yours. Poverty doesn’t make people stupid. Sickness and illness don’t stop them from hoping, wishing and dreaming. I spoke to the parents at Canapé Vert and I laughed with their children. They are just like you and me. Only they are, like Rachel, “weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted because they are no more.”

But we can help.


Right now there is an immediate need for grief and bereavement counseling for the children. You can see the hopelessness, despair and depression written on their little faces. They cry when you ask about their families. They cannot sleep. They wet their pants. There is a massive amount of pain and sorrow locked up in these young and tender hearts of these little children. We have begun to develop a plan for counseling and psychosocial support.

In March, we will return to Haiti with the Psychosocial Support Team. Our mission: Bind-up the broken hearts as well as comfort and care for them. Pray that God pours out His Spirit on them and on us for “Who is equal to such a task?” Angels are always watching over them and us and will give us strength since “they always see the face of my Father in heaven.”

 

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