Dear Ohio Wesleyan students, staff, and faculty,
Hurricane Matthew recently hit Haiti, causing destruction and devastation that has not yet been fully assessed. This is a category 4 storm, with winds over 125 mph and 25 inches of rain. Pwoje Espwa Sud, an orphanage in southern Haiti with strong ties to Ohio Wesleyan, has been severely impacted by this storm.
Espwa is home to approximately 350 children, provides education to over 1,000 students, employs over 200 Haitians, and provides free medical care to the community. Fortunately, all of the children and staff are safe in the aftermath of the hurricane. Unfortunately, Espwa has faced substantial damage and the local community will be susceptible to illnesses such as cholera in the coming weeks.
Over 200 boys have been moved to the primary school and the kids are eating emergency food supplies in shifts. The homes in the boys’ village and the secondary school have been destroyed, in addition to the majority of trees and crops. Electricity is out for southern Haiti and the roads are impassible, making the delivery of supplies extremely difficult. Luckily, the girls’ homes are sturdier, and they have stayed safe there. However, it is likely that more children will need to seek refuge at Espwa in the near future due destruction within the local community.
Ohio Wesleyan has many ties to Espwa, with dozens of students, faculty, and staff visiting since 2010. So far there have been six OWU alumnae who have worked as guest house managers at Espwa: Kelsey Ullom ’14, Rachel Vinciguerra ’14, Brenda Gable ’15, and Kate Raulin ’12. Currently, Lizzy Wynne ’16 and Emma Sparks ’16 are on-the-ground at Espwa. We believe that Emma and Lizzy are safe. We all love the children at Espwa from the bottom of our hearts and are fearful of what this hurricane could mean for them. However, we know there are Bishops who are willing to help.
If you would like to donate, please make a contribution to Free the Kids, which is a U.S. based nonprofit organization whose sole mission is to support the work at Pwoje Espwa. You may visit their website at www.freethekids.org. A donation can also be made to:
Free the Kids
5704 W. Market Street #8947
Greensboro, NC 27419
Thank you for your support!
Brenda Gable ‘15, Kate Raulin ‘12, Rachel Vinciguerra ‘14, and Kelsey Ullom ‘14