It’s been another 365 action-packed days around the sun! Here in Northern Haiti, the Second Mile team is still basking in that sentimental feeling after getting some much needed rest and family time during the holiday season.
We feel grateful for the privilege of taking time at the end of each year to reflect, reinforce our relationships with family and friends, relax, and prepare for the work to come. And from our recognition of that privilege comes a sense of urgent responsibility.
At Second Mile Haiti, we feel that it is our responsibility to use our skills and resources to expand access to the same rights and privileges that we have. At the very least, sick children should be able get the rest they need to recover, and families should be able to stay together throughout their most difficult times rather than forced apart. And access to quality healthcare should be a right for all so that kids never have to experience malnutrition in the first place.
We have a long way to go before the biggest worry for most families in Northern Haiti around this time of year is what New Year’s resolution to adopt. But with your sustained support, change is possible. Piti piti. Little by little.
We’re already racing into 2019.
But before we get too far down the road, let’s take a look at some 2018 highlights that have us smiling:
A fierce group of supporters decided to stand with women and families by signing on as monthly donors to support the Strong Start Maternity Center. Because of their tenacity and commitment to maternal and infant health, they are known as the Fierce 50!
Thanks to the support of the Fierce 50 and other generous contributions, we finished phase one of the Strong Start Maternity Center and started accepting patients for prenatal care, holding education classes, and offering expecting parents other holistic health services such as psychological support. It’s a landmark accomplishment for us to be providing women the care they deserve while helping them give their children a Strong Start. 234 were served at Strong Start during the last nine months of 2018.
Our staff grew from 28 to 38! We’re proud to be providing local employment for skilled health services professionals like skilled birth attendants, nurses, and psychologists, as well as operational technicians, gardeners, and… how would we describe Blaise? Chief-yogurt-maker-entrepreneur-biologists. Three of our newest team members are phenomenal midwives who are now the backbone of Strong Start's maternal health program. These Haitian midwives are bringing their strong backgrounds in Maternal Health, coupled with the continuing education and additional training they received this year to improve outcomes for mothers and their babies.
Our adult education programs now have more livelihood opportunities that are specifically tailored to the needs, strengths, and interests of each individual. New customized business plans integrate animal commerce, husbandry, and agricultural classes that help adults maintain income streams and access to healthy food all year round.
Thanks to our dedicated staff and to amazing supporters like you, 105 children recovered from severe acute malnutrition and 138 critically ill children had their medical expenses paid. That definitely has us feeling good about 2018.
If you are a Second Mile Haiti supporter, YOU made these highlights possible. From all of us here at Second Mile: Mèsi! / Thank you!
We’re gearing up for another big year that will contain many important small steps. Here’s a peek of the big things to come in 2019:
Our community of monthly supporters will have a new name and new ways to participate in Second Mile’s impact and progress! If you want to get in on the action early, visit this link and choose “Yes” to the question “Would you like to make this a recurring donation?”
We will finish up construction of the postpartum unit at Strong Start Maternity Center and expect the first birth in February 2019! Throughout the year we will support hundreds of women in giving birth safely at the Birth Center. You know that unmistakable new baby smell? Not to sound weird, but we’ll be getting a lot of that this year.
We’ll be purchasing a “tap-tap” (a retrofitted truck taxi) from the 2018 Holiday Catalog to make our own public transportation route. This way women won’t have to walk as far to get to our centers. Which means more access to critical health services for the most under-served in our corner of Northern Haiti.
You’ll be hearing a lot more about neighboring health clinics this year as we increase outreach and collaboration with these important local partners. We recognize the need to work together to stop malnutrition in its tracks!
A group of young people from our community will have a chance to participate in a sexual health course led by their peers! These Peer-Health Educators have already started receiving their train and are excited to continue to equip themselves over the next few weeks.
We’ll soon be launching a new website that we hope will make it easier to learn more about Second Miles’ objectives and to stay informed on our progress towards those goals. Keep an eye out our new and improved look!
With our refreshed sense of purpose and a strengthened resolve, we will continue working with families in Northern Haiti for healing and health, for recovery and strength, and for togetherness. We hope you’ll stay with us and help to forge a brighter future.