HHA CEO, Carwyn Hill, visited the projects in Haiti and East Africa during June 2022. Here is a short report from him:
In June, I had the privilege of visiting our work in both Haiti and Uganda. Both trips were filled with a mix of emotions, seeing the incredible work our local teams are doing, but also some of the incredible hardships the countries we operate in are facing.
In Haiti, our disability work has been thriving under the leadership of HHA’s Rehabilitation Coordinator, Brooke. Maison de Benediction (our respite centre for children with disabilities) was full of life with an exciting new sensory garden under development (watch this space!). Another highlight of June, has been seeing the hospital’s spinal cord injury inpatients learning how to build wheelchairs in our newly revamped vocational training room. Seeing the pride of these patients as they learn new skills and receive a small payment for each wheelchair was inspiring! Huge thanks to all the partners involved in this...Swiss Paraplegic Foundation, Walkabout Foundation, Free Wheelchair Mission and Haiti Rehab Schweiz.
In Uganda, the scale of the work we’re now involved in is hard to imagine. New Hope Rehabilitation Centre continues to care for hundreds of patients a month and it was a joy working with St Johns Church Crawley, who visited and helped host conferences around disability inclusion for faith leaders and families with disabilities, speaking to over 1,200 people! At Amazing Grace Primary School we saw several HHA funded buildings completed, thanks to the amazing Favell Family. This has included a new nursery block and library!
Perhaps my lasting impression though on this trip, was the continued daily struggle for survival for many, in terms of food security. Our Agriculture and Nutrition project, supporting 1,100 of the most vulnerable refugee households is providing critical support against a very challenging backdrop. Global Acute Malnutrition rates in some settlements has increased since 2020, costs of food items has increased significantly and a severe drought in the Horn of Africa has impacted efforts, with our target areas only receiving between 25%-50% of normal average rainfall. The arrival of over 70,000 new refugees in Uganda is also stretching the resource of aid agencies. To meet some of these newly displaced families from DRC was a humbling reminder of why our work is so critical.
Sadly, Uganda is not alone in its battle against food insecurity. The Director of the World Food Program, has recently said that Haiti is seeing a significant increase in hunger in the capital and in the south. Growing insecurity in the country's capital in recent weeks has left the north of Haiti (where we’re based) facing another potential fuel crisis. You may remember last year, the struggles we faced just to keep our partner hospital open. Whether it be critical food insecurity or trying to support a major health facility through a national fuel shortage, the work is not easy. But, visiting both Haiti and Uganda in the same month, highlighted the number of lives being transformed and saved thanks to our collective efforts and your amazing support. There is a lot to give thanks for, but as always, a lot more to do.
Carwyn Hill, CEO and Co-founder of HHA