Lions Clubs International Foundation Marks Second Anniversary of Haiti Earthquake
Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF) will mark the 2nd anniversary of the devastating Haiti earthquake with several unique redevelopment projects, including opening the country’s only nursing school and completing housing in one of Port-au-Prince’s toughest neighborhoods, Cite Soleil.
The school’s inauguration is set for this month. Students are currently studying in make-shift tents. The new facility has four classrooms and a lab practice area with hospital beds where students will treat patients. A dormitory is also planned. Three-hundred-fifty nursing students will attend the school this year. The facility is hurricane and wind proof, with windows built to serve as emergency exits in future disaster situations.
LCIF has also completed two out of three phases of a housing project in Cite Soleil. The second phase will be complete within the next two months.
“What’s unique about Lions Clubs International is we have stayed committed to the same Haitian families for the entire two years. We started by providing tent shelters and recently asked them to turn in their tents so we could give them new homes,” said LCIF Chairperson Sid L. Scruggs III.
Lions have completed 403 homes and 197 are still in progress. LCIF has only about 20 people still living in tents, and is providing temporary shelters or homes to everyone originally given tents.
“As the funding arm of the world’s largest volunteer organization Lions Clubs International, we are working through our local Lions clubs members in Haiti,” continued Scruggs. “The Haitian Lions members are overseeing our redevelopment projects, which enables us to incorporate input from the Haitian people into everything we do. For example, the homes have been developed in the local style.”
“Because we have local Lions members who live in the community we can best meet the local needs. In the early days when many other organizations’ goods were stuck sitting in customs because there was no one to claim them, Lions went to the shipping yard to personally claim our tents and put them up quickly.”
These projects are possible due to Lions’ generous outpouring of support, providing more than US$6 million to LCIF in support of relief efforts in Haiti. Other projects include additional housing projects, a community center and school, with additional projects currently being developed.
Lions have seen a surge in membership in Haiti, from 80 in 2009 to 132 currently, as more people in the community want to be involved in volunteerism relief efforts. Lions live in the community and remain committed to long-term relief, developing future projects that address needs not currently being met.