Our sewing group of 4 women in Limbe has assembled the initial order of diapers to be sold in a local pharmacy. This is quite encouraging for our sewers, as the initial hesitation with this project concerned their ability to both sew and market the products.
In a few weeks, we will be shipping each woman a package that contains enough supplies to construct 50 diapers and 30 reusable menstrual pads. Due to the generosity of time and funds from local women, we have the majority of these kits cut and packed. 50 yards of flannel remains to be cut and we are hoping for 1-2 more gatherings to get this accomplished.
The women from Waseca United Methodist Church won the honors of holding the first Cutting Party. 24 women spent 6 hours cutting and partially sewing kits. The bright colors of the fabrics helped to brighten a rainy day. We all admired one participants 1940 sewing machine, which she refers to as her “portable model”.
Eight more cutting parties have been booked and a large supply of kits will be sent to Haiti in mid June. We recieved word from Haiti this week that the 30 diapers we distributed to a re-feeding program for infants were very well received and the participants are interested in starting their own sewing program using our kit model.
Three of us will be traveling to Haiti next week to work at Mama Baby Haiti, a birthing center in Cap Haitian that employs Haitian trained nurse midwives. They have received a grant from Dining for Women which allows them to expand their program to include well woman care. A community health worker will be trained to educate area women about sexually transmitted disease, contraception and cervical cancer screening. The goal of our trip is to train midwives, physicians and nurses in the technique of cervical cancer screening with VIA(visual inspection with acetic acid). 285,000 women die each year of cervical cancer, 85% of them in the developing world. Read more
My April 2015 trip to Haiti will mark the 10th year since I first journeyed to the island in 2006. Just as my parenting methods have evolved over the past 24 years, so have my views and methods of “helping” others, both here and abroad. For the first time, the April trip will involve much more teaching and not as much doing, as we work to train midwives in methods of cervical cancer screening and treatment. More information about this venture can be found here.
Haiti is an example of how too much “helping” by outsiders (usually Americans) can be a disadvantage. Too many projects have been started or promised and never finished… Read more
Thank you to those of you who contributed during our Give to the Max Day fundraiser. While we were not as successful financially this year as we had been the previous year, we were able to increase the awareness of our organization.
While we were in Haiti last week we were able to meet with many of the microfinance recipients. These 135 women continue to have a 100% payback rate and are eager for larger loans and loans for their friends and relatives. It was difficult to explain to them that we do not have an unending supply of money to distribute and if we increase the size of the current loans ($200), it will mean less loans available in the future. American seems like the land of never ending funds when you see mission groups arrive at the airport daily and spend money hiring translators and eating in restaurants.
One women wanted to impress on us the ongoing benefits of the loan program. While she is able to use the profits from her business to send her children to school, the unemployment rate when children graduate from high school is still very high. Alcoholism and petty crime is increasingly more of an issue in rural villages as young men have no jobs and ample spare time. Other young adults travel to surrounding islands for employment, where they are often treated poorly and are far from family support. The hope of these mothers is that more loans will create more local business opportunities and allow children to stay home after they finish school, working with their parents.
Many aid organizations in Haiti have worked diligently to build schools, making an education possible for children. Helping Haiti Work is taking the next step in Ranquitte and Limbe to help to create job opportunities for families. Consider a donation that will help us to fund more loans.
Jeff and Leslee Jaeger, and Tim Neary are on volunteer medical mission and sending updates on Helping Haiti Work projects. Leslee stresses the importance of your donations to promote women’s businesses in northern Haiti:
3 years ago we started a cervical cancer screening program. Yesterday it became very apparent why this education and screening is necessary. We diagnosed 3 women with end stage cervical cancer. One of these women will probably die in a few weeks, another is only 34 years old and has 5 children that depend on her. Even in the US, these women have such advanced disease that they would only be eligible for hospice type treatment. The screening test is simple, taking only 5 minutes and costing 50 cents in supplies. Precancerous changes can be caught early and easily treated with a 90% cure rate. Unfortunately, all of these women have had their disease for many years and will die of a disease that is the number one cause of cancer death for women in the developing world. We are working to expand our program, teaching local physicians and nurses how to screen and treat. Later today 2 of our nurses will visit a local church and provide education to a women’s group. When we visit our micofinance recipients this week, we encourage them to bring their friends for screening and to spread the word about the preventive services available. The microfinance women are leaders in their community and are respected for their business knowledge. We hope they will also be listened to when they spread the word about cervical cancer. By funding more loans, we will be able to involve more women in not only businesses, but also to serve a role models for their communities.
This great event will occur October 4th, 2014. We will gather at Tim Nearys home, 162 Peninsula Road, Medicine Lake, MN , promptly at 7:00PM.
We are inviting everyone who has had a hand in supporting all the microfinance projects that Helping Haiti Work has proposed over the last few years to celebrate our accomplishments and look forward to new endeavors. Now is the time to turn your support to the renewable menstrual pads development which will be sold and distributed in Haiti. An evening of drinks and desserts will be served while learning about the manufacturing and distribution of renewable menstrual pads. Please invite any friends who are willing to help in any way.
Over 70 women attended our first menstrual pad awareness event held on July 15th at Messiah UMC in Plymouth. The first part of the evening was spent hearing about the need for reusable feminine hygiene in the developing world, how the lack of resources impacts a young girls’ ability to attend school, and the development of a sewing center that constructs the pads as part of our microfinance program. Special guests from Zimbabwe shared their stories about how universal the need is for these products. The evening ended with those in attendance cutting and sewing some of the menstrual hygiene kit components for later distribution. Donations totaled $745 to be used in supporting the sewing center.