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General News · 19th January 2010
Sue Schmitt
For those of you who know us, and for those that don't:

Our family, co-founded an orphanage in Haiti 3 years ago. The project came out of a conference called the Web of Change that my husband Martin attended at Hollyhock, where he met a man named Luke Montgomery.
From a serdendipitous encounter emerged plans to help the poorest most destitute children in the Western hemisphere...Haitian AIDS orphans.

The earthquake last week left us with no communication for several days about whether our children or staff had survived.

At the end of the week, we heard that they all survived the earthquake. Our director Lia Vand De Donk, and five children were at a park and just before 5PM, headed to her car to go back to the house. A few minutes earlier and they may have been getting in the car when the car was destroyed by part of a falling building.

The playroom at the orphanage had sleeping children in it when the quake hit. Bricks flew, and by another miracle, only a few minor scratches were sustained. That is the good news...and they truly are the lucky ones in this little beach town called Jacmel (the cultural center of Haiti). In one school 100 teens studying to be auto mechanics lost their lives when the building collapsed. The schools our children attend are demolished. The hospital has been destroyed and medical personnell are treating patience with limited resources outside the collapsed walls of treatment rooms.

The bad news for our group is that 13 children and some of our 20 staff members are homeless. They are sleeping under a tarp, and have some food, water, clothing, and medicine. But not much. Several of our children have serious medical needs: AIDS, tuberculosis, microcephalis, cerebral palsy, are HIV positive, and need ongoing medical support. The rain set in a couple of days ago, and they took temporary shelter in an empty hotel, until they worried it might not be safe with all the aftershocks.

What we need are donations to buy: food, water, clothing, medicine, shelter, supplies for the local hospital, solar powered lanterns, support for our staff and their families and those in the greatest need in Jacmel. And, our director needs a car so she can run the daily business of running the orphanage and shuttling our 13 kids to medical appointments, school, etc.

Our partner Luke is running via Navy carrier between Jacmel and the Domincan Republic bringing carloads of medical supplies to the local hospital as I type.

There are lots of pictures and more detailed stories on our blog:

www.wecanbuildanorphanageblog.com

In addition to donating, fund raisers are needed, and the word can be forwarded to friends via email, facebook, twitter.

We thank you in advance for any support that you can offer.

The Schmitt Family (from Siskin Lane)