Haiti (MNN) — In the western hemisphere's poorest country, over
54 percent of the population makes less than a dollar a day. Coupled with the
growing HIV/AIDS epidemic, Haiti is in a dire state.
The United States Agency for International Development
(USAID) wants to change that. Thus, they created a grant to aid in the fight against
David Erickson, COO of World Hope International, said USAID knew
they were needed, but they also realized they needed a strategy, which involved
grassroots and faith-based organizations.
"USAID participated in something called the New Partners Initiative;
they wanted to bring some new partners to the table. And World Hope
International was privileged to be one of the first of those new partners. They
challenged us to address the HIV/AIDS challenge in Haiti in a very
comprehensive way," Erickson said.
Through this partnership, World Hope stresses the need for
treatment of people infected with HIV/AIDS. They encourage people that
there is still hope.
They also teach youth about the importance of abstinence and
faithfulness within marriage, provide counseling for youth and those infected,
and provide HIV/AIDS testing and care for orphans, vulnerable children and people with
USAID and World Hope first began working together in 2006, a
turbulent time in Haiti. In addition to the poverty and HIV/AIDS epidemic, there
was a severe crime spike.
"We very thoughtfully and prayerful wrestled with this opportunity
and challenge and felt it was our duty and our privilege," Erickson said. Their work
with USAID was not, however, their first time helping in Haiti. In fact, when
World Hope began 14 years ago, Haiti was the first country they provided aid to,
according to Erickson.
Now, World Hope has provided care and support to almost half
of the children and victims USAID helps.
In accordance with USAID guidelines, they are not allowed to
proselytize, Erickson said. Therefore, their witness is not as much in words–though they still speak truth into these people's lives–but in deeds.
"We clearly live out the mandate of the Gospel on us by
caring for orphan and vulnerable children in their distress. That's the reality
of true religion," Erickson said, referring to James 1:27.
Pray for World Hope and their work with HIV/AIDS victims in Haiti.
Erickson said USAID has asked them to continue partnering with them next year,
so pray they will touch the lives of as many people as possible in the coming
year. Pray for their work in Haiti to make an eternal difference. Pray for
World Hope to have the grace and strength to continue the work they started.
Also, pray for the staff and caregivers in the country as they
work with people who have lost all hope and face death.
To learn more about World Hope's work in Haiti and how
to join the effort, visit their Web site.