Haiti aid continues to make a difference three months on

Three months on from the catastrophic earthquake that hitPort-au-Prince in January, money donated by British Methodistscontinues to make a real difference to the relief effort inHaiti.

Moved by news of the disaster that killed around 230,000 people,made a million people homeless and devastated the country'sinfrastructure, thousands of Methodists across the UK responded toappeals for funds issued jointly by the Methodist Church and theMethodist Relief and Development Fund (MRDF).

£14,000 of the £404,000 raised so far by the Church's World MissionFund (WMF) is being used to purchase, transport and set up largetents in Haiti to be used as temporary classrooms, ensuring thatchildren's education in Haiti continues. Eight schools have beentotally destroyed and 17 so severely damaged that students andteachers are afraid to use them.

On hearing this news, Revd Gesner Paul, President of the HaitianMethodist Church expressed his gratitude, saying, "Thank you forthe marvellous work that you have been doing in promoting the causeof Haiti at this critical time in the life of our Nation andChurch, even under difficult circumstances for you. We thank Godthat this work has started to bring such fruit especially as wewere wondering how would we face the relief and reconstruction workthat has to be done."

A further £43,000 from the WMF has been sent via the MethodistChurch in Haiti to support the salaries of teachers in the worstaffected areas for the next three months. £25,000 has been sent tocontribute for three months to the salaries of churchpastors.

Over £370,000 has been donated so far to MRDF's Haiti appeal sinceits launch in January. The charity is responding to the earthquakethrough partnerships with the Methodist Church in Haiti and Actionby Churches Together (ACT) International. So far, donations havebeen used to provide food, clean water and emergency shelter tothousands of people affected by the earthquake. At a malnutritionclinic in Port-au-Prince, hundreds of children were given enrichedmilk, spinach, beans and rice in the immediate aftermath of theearthquake. The most severely malnourished children had meals of'plumpy nuts', a special protein-based paste full of vitamins andminerals. The appeal funds also helped to provide medical care andcounselling support to many survivors.

Simeon Mitchell, Director of Fundraising, Marketing and Campaigningfor MRDF, said, "Many of us were shocked by the images that emergedas survivors tried to come to terms with the loss of lives, homesand livelihoods. We are very grateful that so many Methodiststurned that feeling of shock into an act of compassion by making adonation and a tangible difference. We are committed to supportingboth emergency relief and long-term rehabilitation work in thecountry. Donations to our appeal will continue to meet people'simmediate needs as well as fund the construction of houses, andprovide seeds and tools so that vulnerable families can plant cropsfor the next harvest."

Revd Dr Leslie Griffiths, former President of the MethodistConference, and Revd Tom Quenet, Partnership Coordinator, visitedthe Methodist Church of Haiti in February to witness the reliefeffort first-hand. "Amongst the partners of the Methodist ChurchHaiti in the Americas and the Caribbean, there has been a genuinedetermination to work together in helping the people of Haiti andthe Methodist Church there," said Tom. "This coordinated responseto the needs of a people following a disaster of such magnitude issignificant and encouraging for future responses. In working inpartnership with our partner churches and with MRDF, we arediscovering that each of us has complementary skills and resourcesthat can be powerfully used to make real differences to people'slives."

The two appeals remain open and those who wish to donate can do soin the following ways: To donate via the Methodist Church pleasevisit www.justgiving.com/Methodist-Church-Haiti-Appealor send a cheque payable to the World Mission Fund to Dave Bennett,Fundraising Coordinator, at Methodist Church House, 25 MaryleboneRoad, London, NW1 5JR. Postal donations should be labelled 'HaitiAppeal'.

To donate via MRDF, visit www.mrdf.org.uk or call 020 72244814 to give by debit or credit card, or send a cheque made payable'MRDF (Haiti emergency)' and to MRDF, 25 Marylebone Road, LondonNW1 5JR.

Hi-res images from Haiti are available to download from theMethodist Media Photostream: www.flickr.com/photos/methodistmedia.

Fund totals listed are from 12 April 2010.