How to Help Haiti While Pandemic Keeps Us Apart
We at The Brian Young Foundation hope your families are safe as we navigate this unprecedented time. While the pandemic has disrupted our daily lives, it has provided us with some much-needed time together. As I am currently sheltered in Texas with my family, I thank God for the many blessings he has provided us. When I look around my home, I see so much to be grateful for-- Ample groceries, quality healthcare, internet access, and most importantly, each other. These are things that can easily be taken for granted. We hope that your family has been equally blessed as ours.
As you may presume, the island of Haiti has not been so fortunate. In a country that already battles poverty-stricken living conditions, the pandemic has had detrimental consequences on the island. Political turmoil has overwhelmed the government’s resources, and leadership has enacted few measures that prevent the virus’ spread. On June 1st, the countries officials reported that over 2,000 cases had been confirmed so far. However, with a notoriously inadequate healthcare system, the Haitian Health Taskforce estimates that nearly 400,000 Haitians will have been infected by August.
Before the COVID-19 made it to Haiti’s shore, the country was already in a forced lockdown due to violent protests in the streets. Now that the virus’ threat has become imminent, even more struggles have emerged. The hardships Haitian citizens already faced have become tremendously more stressful under the pandemic. Lack of resources makes proper sanitation a challenge. When access to clean water is so scarce, redundant handwashing can be wasteful. Many sources of income have been halted by the shutdowns. Tensions are high as families lean on each other to fight for survival. Overcrowded homes lead to an increase in domestic violence and abuse. The people of Haiti, especially the women and children, are more vulnerable to exploitation than ever before.
Any schools that remained open during the protests have been forced to closed their doors. But in Haiti, this effort to stop the spread of the virus has more negative impacts than positive. In the United States, schools have transitioned to an online format. But on the island, remote learning adaptations are far less realistic. Very few students have consistent access to an internet connection or even a smartphone. Those with a smart device find it difficult to keep it charged, as the city is only distributing electricity for three hours each week in the main cities. These students are being stripped of their access to education, their only opportunity to escape a life of poverty.
While travel restrictions have made it impossible to be on the island right now, there are still ways that we can help. The Brian Young Foundation is operating throughout the pandemic by collecting donations and provisions. We will continue to send these resources to our partners at the orphanages in Haiti, ensuring they have adequate disinfectant supplies, face masks, and nutritional support. As soon as the restrictions are lifted, and it is safe to travel to the island, our foundation’s volunteers will return to help more directly. In the meantime, we ask that you keep the people of Haiti in your prayers. All of us at The Brian Young Foundation appreciate your continued support, and we pray that God holds your families in his hands as we overcome this pandemic together, emerging stronger and more united than before.