Thursday, March 21, 2013

Rolling Out Deworming in our Hope for Kidz Schools

P1020189 Last  Thursday, March 14th,  I had the privilege of rolling out RMI’s Hope for Kidz Deworming Program in all of our Hope for Kidz schools.  This was an exciting day for us at RMI!  Hope for Kidz enables individuals to sponsor a Haitian child to go to school.  A sponsorship covers the cost of tuition, registration fees, books, uniform and shoes.  In the last few years we’ve added a hot lunch program in many of those schools and have been able to include more schools every year. 

RMI truly believes that an education provides kids with hope for their future.  A healthy child is better equipped to learn.  We have seen the impact that the Hot Lunch program is having: it is improving the health of all the kids involved.  We also believe that by deworming the kids every year, the kids will be healthier and will greatly decrease the incidence of intestinal worms in the community. 

A few of our US sister churches have initiated deworming projects in their partnership churches and from that, a dream to deworm all of our school kids was born. A big shout out to The Orchard Evangelical Free Church in the Chicago area who originally gathered and developed the educational materials necessary for this program.  It sure made the planning process so much easier!

The Objective: To add a deworming branch to our Hope for Kids program.IMG_0196

The Details: Why is deworming important?  Intestinal worms is a big problem here in Haiti.  Worms cause many different intestinal problems.   For many kids, they are fortunate to get one square meal a day.  An intestinal worms infection robs already undernourished kids of much needed nutrients.  Worms inhibit children’s growth.  These infected kids are not able to focus well in school.  Worms make kids more susceptible to other diseases.  Deworming is as simple as providing each child one deworming tablet per year to eradicate an active infection or prevent eggs from turning into an active infection.

The Decision:  We asked the question: Who should get the annual deworming medication?  We had already decided that a small portion of each child sponsorship would cover the costs associated with deworming.  We quickly realized that this program would only be effective if we could administer the meds to ALL the children in each school, not just just sponsored kids. This meant that this school year, 9,000 kids will receive deworming medication that will improve their overall health.

P1020191 The Process:  We decided to bring into the RMI office,  all the school administrators for the 33 schools that have sponsored children, and hold a deworming training session and distribute the meds.  During the training session we went over why deworming is important and went through the process of how to hold a deworming clinic in their schools.   We provided them with a log book to keep records, as well as the pills and cups needed to ensure each person at the school receives medication.  The administrators took these items back to their school and held a deworming clinic.  We plan to do this once every year.

P1020161 For me, this training session was a really big day!  It is something I have been working on for quite a while.  On top of that, I was challenged by one of our Haitian staff to do the training myself.  That meant I presented it all in Creole with out being translated!  I am thankful I was stretched in this way and that Benson was there to back me up when my Creole wasn’t quite right :)

If you sponsor a child through RMI’s Hope for Kidz program, THANK YOU for making this possible!  Your dollars are going a long way to assist the health of not only your sponsored child, but of many others in your child’s school.


Monday, March 04, 2013

From Petersburg to Petersburg in one week

“A journey is best measured in friends, rather than miles.” — Tim Cahill      

This is especially true for RMI President, Dan Shoemaker, this week.  If the miles were counted, he would indeed be weary!  4700+ miles between the Petersburgs.  Saturday Dan presented RMI’s ministries to a church missions committee in St. Petersburg, Florida.  It was exciting to see them grasp the concepts of having a long term, in-depth relationship with a Sister Church and realize the potential that it could have for their congregation.  Tuesday Dan then journeys to Seattle where he will stay with friends in a Sister Church there before continuing Wednesday to Petersburg, Alaska.  Though Petersburg Bible Church finds itself in a small fishing village on an island, it is excited to be a Sister Church.  Yes, they travel all the way to Haiti to visit their Sister Church.  Yes, it’s a long, long, very long way, but it is worth it for them to see friends.  They aren’t measuring the miles, they are measuring the friends.

On the way home, Dan will once again stop over in Seattle, visiting friends in 2 Sister Churches as well as long time friends from his early years as a missionary in Haiti.

The world isn’t so big when you measure it in friends!