Ute E Schmidt, infill

Ute E. Schmidt

Senior Consultant

Making ends meet – difficult times in Dicou

Although we haven’t featured our friends in Haiti for a while, they are never far from our thoughts. For the last five years, infill has supported the Dicou community in the Carrefour region of the Haitian mountains through a project run by the German charity Kindernothilfe. It concentrates on educating children and families about healthcare, nutrition and hygiene. Education and health are topics very close to infill’s heart and both were more important than ever in Haiti this year.

Bad things come in threes

While the world grappled with COVID in 2021, the inhabitants of Haiti were triply affected by ill fortune. Political upheaval, natural disaster, and the pandemic wreaked havoc on the small Caribbean republic this year. Following President Moise’s assassination in July, the unclear political situation gave rise to unrest and chaos. Not enough, August brought a devastating earthquake that mostly affected the south of the island, a region that is in the hands of armed gangs. This made the provision of relief measures more difficult. Despite all this, the colleagues from Kindernothilfe and their partner organizations have succeeded in providing food and clean water to all who need them. They also offer spaces where 1.500 children can learn and play and forget about the chaos that surrounds them.

Gang warfare continues to affect public life. Especially as the gangs control the petrol and food market. The resulting lack of resources has hospitals issue warnings that they are unable to treat new patients, the phone network is down and there is hardly any traffic on the roads. This has led to riots in the streets and by the end of October shops and banks even in the capital were closed and city schools abandoned lessons.

COVID prevention in Haiti

COVID prevention in Haiti

Providing structure

In the Carrefour mountains and in Dicou, the situation was calmer, and lessons took place, if – enforced by the pandemic – in different formats. Some teachers visited their pupils at home to see how they coped during lockdown, others met their tutees in smaller groups to ensure that they didn’t miss out on their education.

As previously reported, in addition to providing their 830 pupils with education and vocational skills, the six schools in the Carrefour region combat malnutrition by offering nutritious meals on a daily basis. The cook in each school sources the ingredients from the schools’ own gardens. Unfortunately, due to a severe draught this summer and the lockdown-enforced school closures this proved difficult. So, the aid workers distributed much-needed food parcels which the families received with gratitude.

In the face of all those hardships, we think the aid workers are doing an amazing job and we extend a big thank you to Kindernothilfe and their onsite colleagues for all their efforts! Thank you also to those clients, friends and families who added their donations to our Dicou fund. If you would like to support this project, please contact me at schmidt@infill.com