Haiti has about 700 orphanages. Most of those orphanages do not have a GREEN rating from IBESR which is the best rating. God's Littlest Angels does have a green rating from IBESR and UNICEF.
IBESR (Haitian Social Services) would love to close many of the orphanages who do not have a passing rating but they can't because there is nowhere to put the children. So they mandate that these orphanages must improve the conditions inside their orphanage.
In the same area as GLA is an orphanage called the Church of Bible Understanding that has been here 30+ years. A church in the States run this orphanage and we know them because they have brought food to us off and on for years for the children when they received it from the States. They help many orphanages throughout Haiti with food donations. When they have very sick children they will bring them to us and ask if we can help. When we can, we take those children in and keep them for a few days or weeks until they are healthy enough to return back to the orphanage.
We do not have such a relationship with this orphanage to know their financial details and have always assumed because of the conditions of this orphanage that there is not a lot of money coming into Haiti. The two workers here in Haiti live very simply. They sleep in the orphanage and eat the same food the kids eat. So from appearances they have not been living above their means. One of the workers has been here in Haiti over 3 years.
Recently, the orphanage director brought us 6 babies in one week who were very very ill. We thought two of them might not survive. I confronted the director and asked what in the world was wrong! I asked if some of my staff could come and tour their orphanage and they accepted this. The orphanage was dark and somewhat dirty especially the bathrooms. There were too many children in some rooms and none at all in others. The staff had no idea how to care for an ill baby even though there are two nurses on staff.
Our thought was to help train their staff so that we would no longer receive children from there who were so ill. We wanted the children to be cared for like GLA children are cared for. We do not accept nor condone mediocre childcare in Haiti! We never have and never will.
We asked some of our volunteers and teams if they would like to help clean and paint a few rooms at the orphanage to help brighten up where the children played and slept. We had some left over paint from our Toddler Houses and used that along with paint the orphanage provided to paint several rooms. Our volunteers scrubbed walls, floors, toilets, and played with the children.
GLA has never refused to help a child because of the parents or the orphanage's religious beliefs. Nor will we. We are here to help the children of Haiti. It is not the children's fault if the people caring for them do not believe like we believe.
While we were trying to help this orphanage, a news reporter came by the orphanage to interview the American directors. When they found out that volunteers from GLA were there painting, this reporter called me and asked why we were helping another orphanage. He thought it odd I guess that one orphanage would be willing to help another. I told him it was all about the children. This orphanage was not giving the best of care to the children and needed help. I told him that they are not the worst orphanage I've ever seen in Haiti. I have seen a lot worse, but they needed to clean up the orphanage, fix things, provide for the kids, and train their staff to give the best care they can provide. It was not a conversation that condoned the way they cared for their children in any way.
I also told him that we have a fairly good budget at GLA but it takes every penny to care for 120 kids at the orphanage along with 30 children here for assistance waiting to return to their families, 400 children in our school sponsorship program, and at the same time building a 150 bed orphanage at Fort Jacques! The needs here in Haiti never quit. There are always children needing help in one way or another.
After probably an hour of talking on the phone, this reporter used a few partial sentences from me. He used a small partial quote out of long interview, to imply that I am happy with childcare of that standard. This is a flat out twisting of the truth. I along with my entire staff work consistently to try to make GLA better today than it was yesterday and better tomorrow and into the future.
GLA will not stop helping all children and other orphanages that need assistance. God has called us to help the children of Haiti. I don't think I have it in me to turn away children in need because there might be controversy over who receives our assistance.
I've included the article here for you to read. Please keep the GLA staff in your prayers. We all feel called to be in Haiti helping children in need no matter the situation. We are very sad that Satan can take our desire to help children by making their living situation better and turn it into controversy.
Posted on Sat, December 21, 2013
by Dixie Bickel filed under