Methodist Church members to help poorest of the poor

Posted on: 6th October, 2014

Category: Features

Contributor: West Cork People

Above: Heather Christie and Grace Kingston at the Tea Party fund raiser on August 29

The Methodist Missionary Society (Ireland) will send a team to Haiti on December 29 for sixteen days. Headed by Rev. Laurence Graham from Killarney, the team of twelve from all around Ireland will include two members of Clonakilty Methodist Church, Heather Christie and Grace Kingston.

Some members of the current team have medical backgrounds and will be assisting with medical clinics, as basic health care is in very short supply. Other team members will be refurbishing currently unusable accommodation in a campus, which comprises a primary school, secondary school, vocational training college and teacher training college and others will run children’s clubs or deliver seminars to preachers. Members of the team are paying their own travel, accommodation, food and vaccination costs but they are fundraising for medical supplies, materials for the children’s clubs, and materials for refurbishing the accommodation. Every Euro raised will go directly to the projects.

Most people will recall the earthquake on January 12, 2010, which hit Haiti’s capital Port au Prince, causing widespread destruction; 220,000 were killed, 300,000 were injured and 1.3 million were left homeless. Haiti was one of the poorest countries in the world long before the earthquake with most Haitians currently living on less than two dollars a day. Very few people have a job and many simply subsist, either in the rural areas by growing a few crops, or in the towns by buying, selling, or begging whatever they can. Prior to the earthquake, 80 per cent of the 10.4 million population lived below the poverty line. Haiti was ill-equipped to deal with the aftermath of the earthquake and it still has a long way to go to recover from this catastrophic event. Approximately a quarter of a million people are still living in tents and there are many homes consisting of only one room, built out of corrugated iron. The country is one third of the island of Hispaniola with the eastern two thirds being the much wealthier Dominican Republic. Haiti is 27,750 sq km and is the most populous country in the Caribbean. At present, 53 per cent of men over the age of 15 can read and write, with women slightly less at 51 per cent. Life expectancy is just 60 years. The terrain is mostly rough and mountainous with areas of extensive deforestation, resulting in problems with soil erosion, inadequate supplies of potable water resulting in challenging conditions for growing crops.  Haiti is a Christian country with 80 per cent Catholic, 16 per cent Protestant and the remainder made up of the Islam, Bahá’í  Judaism, and Buddhism faiths.

The Methodist Church, like many other organisations and charities around the world, has been supporting projects and assisting with the rebuilding. The Methodist Missionary Society (Ireland) previously sent a team to Haiti one year after the earthquake.

Heather and Grace held a Tea Party in August and at present are selling quiz sheets and planning other events.  If you would like to make a donation or buy a Quiz Sheet contact Heather on 087 90440766 or Grace on 086 1676161.

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