Compassionate Catholics Provide Safe Housing and Clean Water to Haiti’s Poor

In rural Haiti, poor families often live in crumbling mud-and-stick shacks and walk miles to collect contaminated drinking water. The country is the poorest in the Western Hemisphere, with more than half of its population living below the poverty line. The situation looks bleak, but thanks to the generous support of Cross Catholic Outreach donors, one of our local ministry partners, the Kobonal Haiti Mission, is hard at work changing things for the better.

Because of the kindness shown by our donors to some of Haiti’s poorest families, 253 people were recently provided with safe shelter and 4,449 people were blessed with clean water.

Over Three Decades of Poverty Alleviation in Haiti

These blessings are just the latest developments in a long-term transformation strategy in Kobonal. For more than 30 years, the Kobonal Haiti Mission has worked tirelessly to reduce poverty in the Diocese of Hinche.

Thanks to the generosity of Catholic benefactors, the ministry has built 820 houses, installed 35 clean water wells and provided microloans to 1,066 families. In addition, 250 families are provided with food each month, and more than 1,600 children are receiving a quality education at the Mission’s two primary school campuses.

Related: 3 Ministries That Are Impacting Lives in Haiti

Kobonal Haiti Mission Over the Years

1989 –

Father Glenn Meaux founds the Kobonal Haiti Mission and enrolls the first 50 students.

1991 –

The Mission school expands to a second campus. Today, it serves 1,600 students across two campuses.

1993 –

The Mission builds its first home and begins its microenterprise and feeding ministries.

1996 –

The Mission completes its first water project.

2003 –

Cross Catholic Outreach President Jim Cavnar makes his first visit to the Mission, and a partnership is formed.

2020 –

The Kobonal Haiti Mission dedicates a new open-air chapel, with increased capacity for parishioners to celebrate Mass.

2021 –

and beyond… The Mission continues to transform hearts and lives by meeting the material and spiritual needs of the poor.

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Before: Veronique and her family lived in this crumbling shack.

After: Because of your support, Veronique’s family now lives in a brand-new Kobonal home!

Renewing Hope Through Safe Housing

The cycle of poverty can be incredibly difficult to escape for Haiti’s poorest families. A new home is a fresh start for poor families, giving them a sense of safety and security, increasing self-confidence and renewing their God-given dignity.

The immediate goal of the Mission’s housing program is to improve the living conditions of families sheltering in fragile mud-and-stick huts. The long-term goal is to enable each family to become a landowner, a homeowner and a self-supporting farmer within a faith-filled community.

Not long ago, Veronique Fenelus and her family (pictured above) were crammed into a small, stick-and-mud hut with a flimsy roof made of rusted metal sheets. The house flooded every time it rained, soaking the family and everything inside. Thanks to your compassion, Veronique’s family recently moved into a brand-new Kobonal home. Living in a solid four-room house is an answer to years of prayer and a relief from suffering. “In the new house, I feel safe. I close the door and I can sleep peacefully. I don’t have to be watching and staying up all night,” Veronique said.

Related: The Human Impact of Safe Housing in Haiti

New to Kobonal Homes: Solar Light

The Mission recently added a brilliant new feature to the homes we are building: solar light! Solar power is a practical option in Haiti, where the sun always shines and many properties have no access to an electrical grid.

In each new house, a solar panel was installed along with three light fixtures, illuminating a family’s home so the day’s activities don’t have to end at sunset.

Families can also use the panels for activities such as charging a basic, prepaid cell phone — a device that has been revolutionary in poor, remote communities where traditional landlines never existed.

The option of turning on a light will be especially important for students who have homework and struggled to see in their dark homes.

Related: Restoring Hope Through Education in Haiti

A girl reads outside her home under a solar-powered light.
With solar lights at home, Kobonal’s students have a brighter future.

Changing Lives With Clean Water Access

Like a safe home, access to clean water is life-changing. Safe, clean water is critically important to the Kobonal families, who need it for drinking and cooking, of course, but also for sustaining the fruit and vegetable gardens they depend on for food and income.

In Kobonal, freestanding hand-pump wells improve health and hygiene and free up time for education. Recently, seven communities were blessed with freestanding hand-pump wells, two new wells and five repaired wells. Community leaders now oversee and perform maintenance, and each well is surrounded by a cement wall for security. Water is free, but benefiting families are encouraged to contribute a small amount to fund future repairs the water system may require. This gives villagers a greater sense of ownership and pride.

A Haitian family at a clean water pump.
Dilson Alika (right) celebrates clean water with the children in his community.

Dilson used to wake up at 3 a.m. each day to walk miles to find water for his family. He collected dirty water from a hole just to lug the heavy containers back to his house. Thanks to your kindness, Dilson, his family and many others in the community have all the clean water they need.

“Drinking clean water gives you a better future, because water is life,” Dilson said. “Clean water does not make anyone sick or give anyone problems.”

Related: Understanding Poverty in Haiti and How You Can Help

Answering the Cries of God’s Children

Hundreds of families have been lifted up and out of destitution thanks to our donors’ investment in the Kobonal Haiti Mission. We are so grateful to all who help our ministry partners care for God’s children — declaring their intrinsic value and equipping them for a better future. Consider supporting the Kobonal Haiti Mission with a gift today. Your compassion will have a lasting impact on generations of Haitian families.

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“…and I will be your father, and you shall be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.”

2 CORINTHIANS 6:18

Proceeds from this campaign will be used to cover any expenditures incurred through June 30, 2022, the close of our ministry’s fiscal year. In the event that more funds are raised than needed to fully fund the project, the excess funds, if any, will be used to meet the most urgent needs of the ministry.