I want to bring your attention to something and a group of people that are trying to make a difference. It’s something close to my heart for several reasons.
The creche/orphanage that we are adopting through here in Haiti is called Maranatha Childrens home. It’s run by John and Beth McHoul, an American couple that have been in Haiti for 20 years. The creche is under the umbrella of their organization, Heartline Ministries.
A few years ago Beth decided to move forward with a passion of hers. She has a HUGE heart for Haitian women, especially those that are in the process of having babies. Beth and John have opened a women’s center – Heartline Women’s Ministries.
Each week women in various stages of pre-delivery come and participate in their pre-natal program. During the session Beth or one of the other missionaries that help her run the program do a teaching time. They talk about everything from good nutrition and birth control options to domestic abuse. Things that don’t get addressed in a safe and caring environment here. Beth is almost finished her mid-wifery certificate, and there are a couple of other mid-wives working with the program right now. Each woman in the program is on rotation for regular pre-natal check ups by Beth and the team. I’ve been there for a pre-natal class day and it was so wonderful to see Beth and her crew loving these women in a way that they had never had before, and offering them a service that they have never had before. Most women give birth at home and never get pre-natal care here.
After the women give birth they are put into a year long post-natal program that covers child development and various other important topics. Again, this is not something that is normal here and the goal is to teach mothers that there are other ways, healthier ways, to raise their children so they can live long and healthy lives. Through working with Medika Manba I’ve seen so many cases of malnutrition that are simply due to lack of education about what a healthy diet is for a child.
Now that Beth is almost done her mid-wifery certificate the women’s center has just expanded their services to include a birthing center. With the help of the other mid-wives working there now and the other missionaries that help with the program they have already helped several of the women in their program deliver healthy babies in a safe and loving environment.
They need your help though. Sometimes a delivery has complications, just like back in the US or Canada. The difference is, in Canada or the US we can call an ambulance and they come and transport us safely to the hospital. It’s not like that here. There is no such thing as an ambulance. Sometimes women go into labor at night and can’t get to the clinic to deliver because there are no tap taps (Haitian public transit) running.
Heartline Women’s Ministries is raising money to purchase a heavy duty SUV that can be outfitted with the necessary equipment to be used as an ambulance and transport vehicle for the women in their program. In high risk cases the team at Heartline will transport the woman to a hospital and advocate for her during the check in process and make sure that she has everything she needs for a healthy delivery. In cases where moms need to get to the clinic the vehicle will be used to go and pick the woman up from her home and take her back after her delivery at the women’s center. No longer will there be a question of how to get women to the hospital if needed, and no longer will the women in the program wonder if they’ll be able to get to the clinic in time to deliver.
To help with fundraising efforts there is a group of people that have committed to run to Disney Marathon in January. They are raising money through pledges. Would you consider sponsoring a runner? What about just giving a direct donation to Heartline Womens Ministries?
For more information about Heartline Womens Ministries and the birthing center, to meet the runners, and to meet some of the ladies in the womens program please visit their blog HERE. If you would like to make a donation you can do so through the Chip In meter on the side of the blog. All donations are secure and tax deductible through Heartline Ministries.
Chris and I were very careful about who we chose to work with when we decided to adopt. John and Beth have a proven track record of being very effective in their ministry and doing it well and with integrity. The love that they have for the people of Haiti is an inspiration. When a mother comes, either before or after she has had her child, and is inquiring about giving the child up for adoption they always encourage her to parent if at all possible. If she is in the pre-natal stage and decides to parent, they try to plug her into the women’s program to try and give her and the baby the best possible chance. After women graduate the pre and post-natal programs they have other options within the ministry, such as literacy school and possibly entering the sewing school which in turn gives them a way to earn money for their families so they can be self sufficient.
I would really encourage you to visit the blog and if you feel led, GIVE. There is no donation too small. I know $60,000 seems like a lot, but one of their runners, Tara Livesay, just raised more than that amount in the same period of time for Medika Manba. I know there are people out there that feel strongly about women’s issues. You can love women in Haiti in such a practical way.