World Concern efforts in Haiti focus on rehabilitation

Friday, June 25, 2010


from World Concern staff

As the six-month anniversary of the catastrophic earthquake that shook Haiti approaches next month, Shoreline-based World Concern welcomed Haiti Country Director Christon Domond to its headquarters on June 21 and 22. Domond was here to coordinate with staff in planning ongoing disaster response efforts in the Port-au-Prince area where World Concern works.

Photo: ChristonDomond: World Concern Haiti Country Director Christon Domond meets with staff members at the organization’s Seattle headquarters to plan the next steps in helping people in Haiti rebuild their lives.

Domond has served as a leader for World Concern in Haiti for more than 20 years and was working in Port-au-Prince when the earthquake hit on Jan. 12. Staff there was able to provide immediate response to the disaster with medical supplies, food and water that was stored in World Concern’s warehouse. Now, the organization is employing local workers to repair houses so families have permanent shelter and are off the streets. More than 400 homes have been repaired. They’re also providing cash grants to business owners to rebuild their businesses and begin earning income again.

Despite the overwhelming need—Domond estimates 400,000 people are still displaced and without a home—aid in Haiti is making a difference. “We have moved from emergency to recovery to rehabilitation. We are now in this phase,” said Domond. Projects during the first year after the quake will aim to help children return to school and rebuild or relocate churches, since churches serve as “a reference point in a community for services and a place of socialization,” he said. Churches are either being repaired, or if the damage is too severe, given a temporary facility in which to meet. World Concern has repaired 38 churches so far.

As World Concern begins work in new neighborhoods, they meet with community leaders to determine the greatest needs, then employs local engineers in each community to oversee the repair work. They are currently repairing approximately 80 homes per week. Families are selected to have their homes fixed based on need he explained. “When we arrive in a community, the only thing we decide is to serve the poorest—whatever religion or culture—only the poorest,” he said.

Restoring livelihoods for Haitians is also a priority for World Concern, as getting people back to work will allow them to feed and provide for their families. Domond said many families have been helped through the 450 grants that have been given out so far to replace business equipment damaged in the quake.

Port-au-Prince remains in crisis as tens of thousands of people are still living in camps around the capital city. “We are now in the rainy season and some of these camps are a mess. Some are trying to find a relative’s house where they can live,” he said. “Now it’s time for them to go to a relative’s house.” Many would rather remain in the camps because they receive food and medical care—things that could be scarce or non-existent outside the city.

Domond and his staff are grateful for the financial support they’ve received through donations, but he urged those here in the U.S. to “continue to pray … Haiti will be in crisis for the next 20 to 25 years,” he said. “There is a lot to do.”
Nevertheless, Domond is not overwhelmed by the amount of work that’s ahead in Haiti. “This is the reality. Now there is a challenge,” he said in his strong Creole accent.

The World Concern staff in Haiti works many long hours—understandable, considering the situation before them. But Domond says he doesn’t keep track or pay much attention to that. “I like what I’m doing, providing services to those in need,” he said. “I’m very happy to work with them and serve them.” He will, however, be able to take a much-needed week-long vacation while in the U.S.

For more information on World Concern’s work in Haiti and around the world, visit the website

Photos:  Haitians employed by World Concern help repair houses so families can get off the streets and back into permanent shelter. The work enables laborers to earn money to support their own families.

World Concern, part of CRISTA Ministries, is a Christian humanitarian organization that helps lift people out of poverty through activities including microfinance, agriculture, disaster response and small business development. World Concern works with the poor in 24 countries, with the goal of transforming the lives of those we touch, leading them on a path to self-sustainability. Worldwide, World Concern offers life, opportunity and hope to more than six million people.


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