As the world continues to face the devastation of the January 12 earthquake in Haiti, EDC is profoundly saddened to report the loss of project field agent Kencia François and technical trainer Jacqueline Despagne, both of whom perished in the earthquake. They worked for EDC’s Haitian Out-of-School Youth Livelihood Project (IDEJEN), which is based in Port-au-Prince.
At least 5 of the more than 2,000 youth in Port-au-Prince involved in the project also died when their training center in the Delmas area of Port-au-Prince collapsed.
“The disaster has affected IDEJEN central office staff members, as well as our youth, many of whom have lost loved ones and/or are homeless or displaced,” said EDC’s Suzy Kratzig, who was in Haiti when the earthquake hit. “Still, the IDEJEN staff feels a responsibility toward continuing to serve its beneficiaries, who were already living in difficult conditions before the quake.”
Although EDC doesn’t typically organize relief efforts, IDEJEN is coordinating with Catholic Relief Services to distribute food and hygiene materials, including towels, toilet paper, rice, oil and other needed items to the project’s youth throughout the Port-au-Prince area. EDC will continue to deliver supplies to youth in IDEJEN affected by the earthquake.
“We are all shocked by the earthquake that struck Haiti and deeply saddened by the devastation there,” said President and CEO Luther S. Luedtke. “Our thoughts are with those who are grieving, our dedicated and hard-working local staff, EDC staff based in the United States who have family and friends in Haiti, and all those affected by the recent events.”
Under the leadership of Cornelia Janke, project director for IDEJEN, a team from across EDC will continue working to stabilize our activities in Haiti and to formulate EDC’s role in and response to the challenges ahead.
“In spite of their losses, or the fact that they are still sleeping outside, most IDEJEN staff members have returned to work, providing immediate support to youth with food distributions and planning for further psychosocial support and other programming in the next few months,” said Kratzig.
EDC has worked in Haiti for two decades, most recently focusing on youth development programs. The IDEJEN program was established seven years ago to create education programs and help impoverished Haitian youth develop work skills.
There continues to be an overwhelming need for aid to Haiti. Authorities believe that as many as 200,000 people may have been killed in the earthquake, with the death toll expected to climb as recovery efforts continue. Although EDC is not currently accepting donations for Haiti, we encourage you to donate to one of the many reputable organizations working there.
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Originally published on February 1, 2010