Self-sufficiency a must in continued Haiti rebuild

By September 8, 2011

Haiti (MNN) — It's been well over a year and a half since an earthquake struck that would throw Haiti into more extreme devastation than the poor nation was already undergoing. Nearly 20 months later, there is finally a distant light at the end of the tunnel.

Pat Melancon, Managing Director of Disaster Response and Training for Baptist Global Response, says, "I would say we're going to be getting out of the recovery phase probably in the next six months or so, and then the country should begin to move into the rehabilitation stage."

BGR has done more than their part but continues to work tirelessly. The ministry has created some 60 projects in Haiti and has focused a great deal of attention toward housing.

"By the end of the year, we should have 1,600 homes that we've built," notes Melancon, who recently returned from a trip to build homes in Haiti. BGR has been able to reach these goals by using U.S. volunteers and Haitian work crews.

BGR has been able to provide for needs as they've come — first for immediate needs such as food and temporary housing, then for more permanent housing. As Haiti finally moves away from recovery and into rehabilitation over the next several months, however, BGR's focus will be concentrated on making sure that Haitians steer away from dependency.

Melancon explains, "So much support has been given, and what has happened to a degree is that well-meaning groups have gone in wanting to help, but have created a great sense of dependency. It has created a dependency to the point where many of the Haitian pastors and churches do not feel as though they can do anything on their own."

BGR hopes to debunk these beliefs, both of Haitians and of Westerners. "One thing that we're hoping is that the Christian community as a whole will see that long-term objectives are very important when coming out of a disaster. Everyone's heart is in the right place; sometimes we have to think past just the immediate needs."

As BGR moves toward long-term, sustainable projects in Haiti, they continue to build up communities and churches with the love and truth of Christ. The ministry is able to provide both livelihood by building up Haitians' self-sufficiency, and life in Christ.

You can help BGR in this life-giving process by choosing to support any of the numerous projects the ministry has in Haiti. Click here to view the various ways you can help in Haiti and in other long-term projects across the globe.

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