Commissioner Susan McMillan, territorial commander, visited Haiti in January to see The Salvation Army’s response to the widespread devastation caused by a massive earthquake in 2010. Approximately 3.5 million people were affected by the disaster and 230,000 died, while more than 165,000 buildings were damaged and 105,000 were destroyed.
With almost seven decades of service in Haiti, The Salvation Army was uniquely positioned to provide immediate assistance and meaningful support during the recovery phase. This year marks the completion of the CPO164 Integrated Family Support Project, a $3.6 million multi-pronged program funded by Canadian donors and administered by the Canada and Bermuda Territory’s world missions department.
“It was a privilege to partner with our Haitian colleagues and provide vital support, encouragement and hope to those most affected by the earthquake,” says Major Brenda Murray, director of world missions.
Commissioner McMillan, along with Major Murray and Manjita Biswas, program director for overseas projects, travelled to Haiti to participate in the CPO164 celebration and project conclusion ceremony. The group also met with beneficiaries who received housing and livelihood training, as well as children from some of the Salvation Army-operated schools across the country.
Over the course of seven years, CPO164 provided direct support to 3,400 beneficiaries, along with their immediate and extended families. The Army’s community action teams identified 213 vulnerable families and built permanent housing for them—houses that are earthquake-proof and hurricane-resistant. Another 900 beneficiaries, most of whom were women, participated in the Army’s livelihood micro-credit business program, which provided a $100 U.S. loan to start or expand community-based businesses. A further 1,100 individuals participated in the agri-business program, which provided training for Haitians wanting to start a small agriculture business. A fourth program enabled 1,200 young people to receive vocational training.
At the project conclusion ceremony, Commissioner Mark Tillsley, territorial commander, Caribbean Territory, said, “These multi-year projects are very complex and difficult to complete. Thanks to the people of Canada for making this happen.”
In her concluding remarks, Commissioner McMillan thanked the people of Haiti for their grace and strength in times of great difficulty, and expressed appreciation to Canadians for their ongoing faith and support in the work of The Salvation Army.