501(c)3 Non-Profit empowering the poor in Haiti

The 85%

Numbers, numbers, numbers.   I thought this was about kids and families?

It is, but in order to help kids and families, you need to know some numbers in order to understand the dynamics of how it all works……

If you read on page 5 of the Lumos Report (http://tomvanderwell.net/important-articles/) you will read the following:

However, well-intended donors and volunteers from the United States, Canada and Europe support Haitian orphanages on a large scale. It is likely that tens of millions of dollars are sent to orphanages in Haiti every year, through numerous streams, including cash transactions, making it difficult to track the money.

The availability of such funding, and the desire of well-intended people to help ‘orphans’, is driving the
establishment of orphanages purely for profit. Only 15% are officially registered. The rest operate outside the law and therefore do not publish accounts or budgets. There is no official system to record children entering or leaving orphanages.

A number of important points that come from this part of this article:

  1. Well intended donors support Haitian orphanages on a large scale.  Well intended – they aren’t evil people, they mean well.  They support orphanages – they want to take care of kids.   That’s all good, or at least of good intentions.
  2. Where are the donors from?  The United States, Canada and Europe.  In other words, the first world is “helping” the third world.
  3. There are orphanages in Haiti that are being established, not for humanitarian reasons but for profit reasons.   People want to profit from children.  There are words for people like that.
  4. Only 15% of Haitian orphanages are officially registered with the Haitian government.   Now granted, the Haitian government is not the strongest regulatory body in the world, but at least the 15% who are regulated have someone in the government who knows they are there and knows they are running an orphanage.   85% of them have NO supervision at all.   No accountability in terms of finances, no accountability in terms of keeping track of the kids.   That’s a disaster waiting to happen.

When you are contemplating how you should help the kids in Haiti (and I don’t believe it is an if question, I believe it’s a how question), you should ask yourself three questions:

  1. If they are an orphanage, are they registered with the Haitian government?  Are they willing to provide responsible accounting of what they do, how they do it and what it costs?
  2. Is your donation encouraging orphanages or is it encouraging organizations that try to keep families together?
  3. Why would you want to support an orphanage when you could support an organization like The Apparent Project and keep families together?

Orphanages as profit making enterprises?   Please, that’s a recipe for disaster…….

Orphanages without oversight?  A situation that is ripe for abuse and neglect.

An organization that helps keep families together and out of orphanages?  Now we’re talking…….

The 85% – they need our help.   In the right way.

Tom Vanderwell

 

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