Haven | Christmas 2016 Newsletter
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A challenging year for the people of Haiti

Hi <<First Name>>,

Welcome to the Christmas 2016 issue of the Haven newsletter!  Since our last edition, Haiti has faced unimaginable challenges, bringing significant changes to daily life for its people.

Over the past few months, our work in Haiti has focused on our emergency and recovery response to
Hurricane Matthew, which struck in early October.  The strongest storm to hit Haiti in over half a century, it devastated the country.  The south-west region - where many of our programmes are based – was ravaged in its 230km/h winds and torrential rains, with many communities experiencing several feet of flooding, chronic food shortages and severe water contamination.  Damaged roads, collapsed bridges, and the failure of communication networks all made the delivery of aid and resources to these worst-affected areas even more difficult.

Your support, though, made our emergency relief possible.  Focusing on preventing the spread of cholera and starvation, and ensuring that people had access to safe shelter, you helped us to distribute 500,000 meals; 60,000 water-purifying tablets; 40,000 sachets of water; 5,000 bottles of water; 1,100 tarpaulins; and 389
Shelterbox kits.

Now, as the state of emergency subsides, we’re moving into recovery mode, and looking to the future again.  The people of Haiti embody the resilience, motivation and skills to rebuild their lives in the wake of this major natural disaster, and we are absolutely committed to standing with them. 

You have played an incredible part in this journey, and thank you for all of your support throughout the year: we’re looking forward to making a real difference together again in 2017.

Merry Christmas,
The Haven team

Supporting recovery on Île à Vache
The small island of Île à Vache, which has stood as a regional focus for many of our projects, found itself at the centre of Hurricane Matthew.  There, 30-40% of the population was displaced; 100% of crops were destroyed; and its water polluted by flooding and overflowing sewage.

We led the emergency response on the island, delivering food aid, bottled water, and shelter solutions to its people.  All the while, we worked to support our project participants on the island.  Here’s what’s been going on over the past few months.

Hurricane Response
Most of our staff were on the island of Île à Vache when Hurricane Matthew hit in the evening of 3 October: our Programmes Manager, Ailish O’Reilly, said “we have never gone through such an ordeal”.  In the weeks after, they dedicated themselves to sourcing and distributing aid and emergency supplies, in collaboration with the Mayor of Île à Vache and his Civil Protection teams.  They also conducted house-to-house visits, assessing the damage each family endured and facilitating medical treatment for the injured. 

With the island lying under up to four feet of floodwater, the severe water contamination led to concerns over the spread of cholera.   Preventing this became our key priority: as well as circulating aquatabs and bottled water, the team repaired wells and water sources to flush out the polluted supply. Thankfully, to date, there are no reports of cholera on the island, but we have sourced a cholera tent, beds and medical supplies to be completely prepared if it does arise.

Moving into recovery mode now, our team is supporting the restoration of farms and growth of crops, which were completely destroyed in the storm, to protect against the spread of hunger.  We are also training 15 Community Health Workers (CHWs) to work on the island, visiting people in their homes to promote good hygiene, assess people’s health, and act as a vital point of contact for medical cases.

Another area of focus is the repair of damaged houses to ensure that people have safe, comfortable shelter: we have purchased and distributed materials for this work, with house assessments and repairs going on every day. 

We know that, with the right supports, life on the island can return to normality in the coming months.  For more information on the hurricane and our response, please see

 Income Generation Programme
Our Income Generation Programme on Île à Vache, supported by Irish Aid, focuses on three core areas: sewing, boat-building and agriculture.  The second year of the sewing course is currently underway, with 74 people – 54 women and 20 men – building on their tailoring and enterprise skills; 98 people also participated during its first year.  Meanwhile, more than 350 fishermen benefited from the boat-building course, with 65 new boats built, each coming with its own new sail, and a further  51 boats repaired.  Beginning in December 2015, the first year of the agricultural training came to an end over the summer, with three pilot farms set up in that time.  An agronomist, technician and three agents led the project, with 250 local people gaining new agribusiness skills and sowing crops in their own gardens. 

Sadly, the hurricane impacted greatly on this programme, damaging many of the fishermen’s boats and nets, and thereby cutting off their main source of income.  All of the crops planted during the agricultural programme were torn from the soil, with extensive damage done to the gardens and farms.  Our priority now lies on providing materials and support for the repair of fishing nets and boats, and the supply of seeds and plants for farmers.  Having only recently dried out, ploughing and preparation of land on the island has begun, with seeds and crops planted in some cases, while more than 370 farmers will have seeds before Christmas.

Chache Lavi
Chache Lavi – Creole for “Seeking Life” – is one of our biggest programmes in Haiti at the moment, celebrating its first year on Île à Vache over the summer.  Designed to give people living in poverty the necessary tools to set up their own businesses and create viable livelihoods, 30 business plans have been approved for funding, and, of these, 25 people have started their new enterprises.  Some of these include hairdressers, milliners, beauty suppliers, food producers and more.  Setting up the business is actually one of the final stages in the programme, which teaches participants personal development skills, such as nutrition and family planning before covering all the different aspects of founding, marketing and managing a business: a further 13 people are currently at this stage.  Participants then develop and present their business plan to a local committee, receiving their grant along with a further twelve months of mentoring support. 
Hurricane Matthew damaged the Chache Lavi office, with its roof torn off and windows smashed, while some of our participants saw an impact on their businesses: one woman, for example, lost her bakery business when all her equipment was destroyed in the wind.  We are supporting our participants to repair any damage done and to rebuild their businesses over the coming months.

Water Projects
Hundreds of people on the island have benefited from two water projects, both supported by Electric Aid, which ran simultaneously over the summer.  Our first project saw 43 water harvesting units - including three supported by a private donor - and storage equipment fitted to homes in remote areas where the water supply is scarce.  With every two houses sharing a tank, the project is opening easy access to water for 400 local people.  Our second project involved the building of one new water kiosk, two wells and three pumps, as well as the repair of two large, concrete cisterns which were then connected to 200 houses: all of this is now serving 1,100 people.

Eye-Care Clinic
Three eye-care professionals, led by Kevin Tempany, spent a number of days on the island at the end of September to progress an innovative eye-care clinic which Kevin initially established last year.  Kevin delivered €60,000 worth of diagnostic equipment and launched a new eye-care service on the island in 2015.  This trip saw the group developing an operational clinic for children who have been screened for eye problems by CHWs, and setting up care pathways for older people living with cataracts.  Four out of every five visual impairments can be prevented or cured, but, for people living in poverty or underdeveloped communities, the high cost of treatment and lack of trained professionals too often make this impossible: these volunteers are turning this around on Île à Vache, and we were delighted to support their trip.
Restoring the Christine Farm

Our Christine Farm project in the Cavaillon Valley promotes the strongest farming practive, as well as identifying the best routes to market for farmers. 

In August, just six weeks before the hurricane hit, we welcomed Dr Séamus Crosse, an experienced agricultural scientist who works with Teagasc, to the farm.  He spent a number of days there, conducting research and meeting all of the stakeholders, to devise a tailored strategy to ensure its self-sustainability for the future. 

The arrival of the hurricane sees the farm needing more support to reach that self-sustainability.  It brought huge devastation to the farm, destroying any crops planted and knocking down its fences, trees, storage units, and meeting areas.  The main storage building was completely flattened, as was the open meeting area near the team’s office.

In the weeks after the storm, the farm was used as a distribution centre for food and water to the community, providing hundreds of families in the area with essential aid.  Our support of the local community will continue as, in collaboration with the Mayor of Cavaillon, we are lending our farm equipment to help the farmers of Cavaillon to prepare and restore their lands. 

Ploughing of the land on the farm has now begun, and crops – including beans, banana, corn, sweet potato, and peppers – are being planted.  The team also attends a monthly meeting with the Haitian Government’s Director of the Ministry of Agriculture in South Haiti, along with all agricultural agencies in the south of the country.  With all of this going on, we are committed to ensuring strong recovery on the farm.

For more information on all of our projects, please
visit our website.
Ambassador and Enterprise Trip 
Our Ambassador, Clodagh McKenna, and a number of top Irish entrepreneurs visited our projects in Haiti last September. From meeting women setting up their own businesses through Chache Lavi to raising funds to support farmers at our Christine Farm, it was an unforgettable experience.  Read all about it here.
Our 2017 Volunteer Programme is now open – and we hope you can join us on what promises to be another unforgettable week.  Travelling between Friday, 21 April and Sunday, 29 April 2017, our volunteers will contribute to a range of projects and activities in a local community in Haiti.  There are only 30 volunteer places available for next year’s trip: everyone is welcome, and no experience is necessary.  If you are interested in getting involved, please email Deirdre Hanafin, our Volunteer Manager, or call 01 681 5442.
Upcoming Events

Haiti Ball 2017
Every year, the Haiti Ball stands as the highlight of our Haiti Week activities, representing an important opportunity for us all to stand together in solidarity with the people of Haiti.  A standout moment of each year’s event comes with the presentation of the William Jefferson Clinton Goodwill for Haiti Award, which recognises extraordinary people who make a remarkable difference in bringing about sustainable social change in Haiti.  In 2017, the Haiti Ball takes place on Saturday, 21 January at the InterContinental Hotel, Dublin 4, and we hope you can join us there.  For more information, please get in touch with our team on 01 681 5440 or email Antonia King.

Sustainable Business Year
We’re delighted to have been chosen as the CSR Partner of the Year of Sustainable Innovation and Investment in 2017, a new and pioneering initiative from Sustainable Nation Ireland.  Aiming to ensure that Irish businesses harness new opportunities, Sustainable Nation Ireland and its corporate partners are hosting numerous events throughout 2017 to promote a sustainable approach to business.  Sustainability lies at the core of all that we do at Haven, and we are delighted to celebrate its value and raise awareness of our work in Haiti through this partnership, and we look forward to updating you with news and events throughout the coming months.  For more, please visit the
Sustainable Nation website.

Hurricane Recovery Events

Entrepreneur of the Year Awards
The Haven team joined the EY Entrepreneur of the Year Awards on 27 October, which chose to support recovery in Haiti as its charity action on the night.  Guests donated an amazing €17,000 for emergency relief efforts on the ground: we’re extremely grateful for their generosity.

A Very Special Evening for Haiti
Brian Kennedy, Eleanor McEvoy, Paul Harrington and Fionnuala Sherry were just some of the famous faces who took to the stage in Whelan’s, Dublin on 3 December at a special gig for Haiti.  Hosted by our wonderful MC, Katherine Lynch and organised by Barry Egan of the Sunday Independent, the night raised more than €3,000 for hurricane recovery in Haiti.  Thanks to everyone for being there!

Cocktail Evening
Katherine Lynch hosted an exclusive cocktail evening in House, Dublin on 6 December to support emergency relief in Haiti following the hurricane.  With performances from Brian Kennedy and Paul Harrington, as well as an amazing range of prizes to be won, a brilliant €7,000 was raised. 

Community Fundraisers
We would like to thank all of our supports and volunteers who have organised events to support the people of Haiti in the wake of Hurricane Matthew.  Here’s just a flavour of what’s being going on:
  • Artist Alan Keane held an art exhibition and sale in the Royal Irish Yacht Club in Dún Laoghaire, raising over €2,400. 
  • Mary O’Hara in Sligo organised a sponsored walk in her local football club, raising €2,538.
  • Cadamstown National School raised €900 through no-homework days, non-uniform days and other initiatives.
  • Ballyhaise National School raised €2,291 through a bake sale and raffle.
  • Denise Hurley’s art group in Ballineen, Cork raised €1,320 at their coffee morning.
Past Events

Cycle 4 Haiti
More than one hundred cyclists bravely conquered the 228km distance between Dublin and Galway over just two days in the annual Cycle4Haiti event across the May Bank Holiday weekend.  More than €38,000 was raised over the weekend.  We’d like to congratulate and thank each of the cyclists and all involved on this great achievement.
National Car Draw
Our team wishes huge congratulations to Amy Walsh of Ballygarvan, County Cork, who won our National Car Draw earlier this summer.  This exciting initiative, driven through our ‘Just Give Five’ campaign, offered an amazing opportunity to win a luxury BMW 116d for just €5.  Thank you to everyone who entered the draw and who gave their time in supporting this vital fundraising initiative!
Golf Classic
We celebrated our eighth annual Golf Classic on 17 June, with 23 teams teeing off at the Castle Golf Club, Rathfarnham to great success.  Our Ambassador, George Hook, acted as MC for the evening’s entertainment, handing over some fantastic prizes to each of individual and team winners.  We’d like to thank everyone who came along, helping to raise close to €20,000. 
Tag Rugby Blitz
Fierce competition unfurled between the eight teams taking part in our second Tag Rugby Blitz, held in Wanderers FC, Dublin on 15 July, with INMates proudly accepting the Cup at the end of the night.  Thanks to the team at Tag Rugby Ireland who helped us with the event organisation, and to everyone who took part, raising more than €2,000 on the night.

Like a Coffee Fundraising Day
Popular Dublin café Like a Coffee hosted its annual fundraising day on Saturday, 16 September in support of our projects in Haiti.  More than €1,000 was raised throughout the day: thanks so much to Richard Styles and all the team at Like a Coffee!

Cork Lunch
Now in its sixth year, our Cork Lunch returned to the stunning Imperial Hotel in the city on 7 October.  Hosted by MC Alan Quinlan, special guests included Simon Coveney (Minister for Housing), Derval O’Rourke (Olympic athlete and author), actors Michael Twomey and Frank Duggan (‘Cha and Miah’), and musician Joe McCarthy (The Dixies).  A fantastic €28,000 was raised.

From everyone here in Haven, thank you again for all of your support in 2016, and here's to another great year ahead in 2017!
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