“Na p bati kominote nou pou yon pi bon Ayiti demen”
This simple Creole phrase, translated as “Community building for a better Haiti tomorrow” is the mission of our partners Rayjon Share Care Haiti. Recent changes in programs in the Gilbert area are bringing new meaning and fresh vision to these words.
History of health care in Gilbert: In 1989, in partnership with Rayjon, local women were trained to give vaccinations and soon developed the confidence to plan & organize their own vaccination posts. Measles, once the #1 killer of children under 5, has been eradicated in Haiti. Construction of very rudimentary clinics followed. Then in the mid 90’s, Rayjon’s new field director, worked with local community groups (and Canadian groups) to construct a substantial 6-bedroom clinic which is operating today – and which has achieved rural hospital status.
Thanks a generous grant from the Rotary Club in Sarnia, a laboratory was added in 2007.
For over 25 years, Rayjon has supported the health clinic and an elementary school in the village of Gilbert, in partnership with Hope for Haiti (St. Mary’s), the Sarnia Rotary Club, the Canadian government (until 2010) and many generous donors in Canada. Through our combined efforts quality health care (including emergency, maternal and preventive health services) is present in a region without prior access. A fully functioning laboratory allows patients to receive test results without having to journey to the city, 250 children attend school each year, and over 38,000 vaccinations have been administered.
In November 2017, Rayjon was notified by the Haitian landowner (a member of the Gilbert community) that effective immediately his family would be assuming all responsibility for the operation, funding and management of both the Gilbert clinic and school. While this shift means a change for Rayjon, it is also a tremendous opportunity for us to encourage a self-governing, independent health care and education system in Gilbert. We are happy to know that services will continue for beneficiaries and are pleased to acknowledge and affirm the self-sufficiency of the Gilbert community.
As our priorities shift out of health care we will be able to dedicate our energy and resources into other thriving programs: adult literacy, rural education in Pinson, microcredit and capacity building. The heart of community development lies in listening to the needs, dreams, and goals of beneficiary communities and responding with our partnership and support. Their ideas, their vision, their commitment to work together. This is community building for a better Haiti tomorrow.