CONASPEH Reconstruction and Recovery Report

CONASPEH Reconstruction and Recovery Report

The National Spiritual Council of Churches of Haiti (CONASPEH) continues in Recovery and Reconstruction in the wake of the January 12, 2010, earthquake. CONASPEH feels blessed by the partnership between Global Ministries and CONASPEH. This partnership has been always been based on solidarity, trust, love, respect, and sharing. CONASPEH believes such a partnership is an important witness to life in the church.

National Spiritual Council of Churches of Haiti (CONASPEH)

The National Spiritual Council of Churches of Haiti (CONASPEH) continues in Recovery and Reconstruction in the wake of the January 12, 2010, earthquake. CONASPEH feels blessed by the partnership between Global Ministries and CONASPEH. This partnership has been always been based on solidarity, trust, love, respect, and sharing. CONASPEH believes such a partnership is an important witness to life in the church. 

The second new building on the CONASPEH grounds has been started on an area of a bit more than 18,000 square feet. It is a Classroom Building, which will have two floors with a total of 15 classrooms. The student capacity is 1300. The building includes an open-air auditorium to seat 300 people. The auditorium will have a roof but will have open walls. The auditorium also will be available to churches and allow for training of seminarians, graduations, conferences, and other events.

The Classroom Building includes laboratories for languages, physics, chemistry, and computer science. The library will be subdivided into three parts – K-12 school, theological seminary, and nursing school. The building design includes a water reservoir and calls for restrooms with a total of twelve commodes for students and two separate commodes for teachers, staff, and employees.

The Classroom Building is designed in steel and concrete, and to withstand earthquakes and high winds. This building design calls for a ratio of 80 percent iron and 20 percent concrete in its construction materials. The steel structure is anchored into the ground and will never exceed two stories high. A team of 80 people, composed of engineers, technicians, masons, steel workers, plumbers, electricians, metal workers, carpenters, and others will complete this construction in an estimated seven months.

The first new CONASPEH building was inaugurated in February and was built on the site of their original six-story building that was destroyed in the earthquake. The long-term plan for the first building is that it will serve as offices, a welcome center, meeting areas, and storage. (Click here to read about the dedication of the first building and to see photos.) However, until other buildings are constructed, it also houses classes for the Nursing School and Seminary as well as the administration of the Mutual Support Program and other functions. The San Andres K-12 School continues to function from a series of large tents on the CONASPEH property until the classroom building is completed.

The total budget for the construction of this second building is approximately $485,000. Global Ministries will support this building project with funds available for Haiti reconstruction and welcomes new gifts for this purpose as well.

In addition to the structures, the materials and equipment vital to the programs of CONASPEH are in need of restoration and re-equipment. After the quake, only 2,000 books from the library remained. The library provided texts for many of CONASPEH’s programs including the Seminary, Karen School of Nursing, and skills-training courses in computation, refrigeration, and language. In addition to the texts, the equipment for all of these educational programs (i.e., 45 computers) was lost in the earthquake.  

Since the earthquake, CONASPEH has sought out options for a Center for Transformation to house visiting groups, CONASPEH pastors, and other smaller gatherings of people central to the life and work of CONASPEH. It is recognized that this Center will be a place of hospitality and for participants to discuss, reflect, and to be transformed. The first site option for the Center for Transformation ultimately was not a viable situation. CONASPEH has since found a second site and hopes to eventually purchase the site for about $220,000 to allow for the development of this center. CONASPEH cherishes their partnership with Global Ministries, which has brought the transformation of many people both from Haiti and from the U.S./Canada.  Having a space of sharing cultures, concerns, and faith will allow us all to know and to serve each other better.

Also central to CONASPEH’s work and its ability to host visiting groups is the acquisition of two additional vehicles. These vehicles, along with a dump truck, have been in CONASPEH’s plans since shortly after the earthquake. Funds were provided to purchase the dump truck which has been crucial in moving debris from the CONASPEH land as well as in the rebuilding process. Now the need is urgent for a small bus for transporting groups and a utility vehicle, such as an extended cab pickup or a SUV, for the CONASPEH leadership and mission staff to reach remote churches. The small bus can be purchased for $41,000 including insurance and license plates. The utility vehicle is estimated at $25,000 all inclusive. CONASPEH currently is renting vehicles to meet these needs.  Transportation has always been difficult in Haiti and has become worse since the earthquake.

The three aspects of the Mutual Support Program are being administered and monitored by CONASPEH together with Lumicec, a Cooperative and Credit Union organization with experience in the administration of micro-loans, project assessment, and grassroots education for Cooperative members taking out micro-loans for small business efforts. CONASPEH has formed a Committee made up of pastors, mostly young people, with experience in cooperatives that works with Lumicec in the analysis, educational, and administrative portions of the program.

  1. Micro-loans to families affected by the earthquake. In order to rebuild the grassroots economy in Haiti, loans of $150-$250 are being made to families to allow them to start income-generation projects. The credit union assesses the viability of the project, trains the families in small-business management, and monitors the projects and repayment of the loans. The loans are being paid back at a low rate of interest in a period of six to 12 months. Families are identified for support by CONASPEH member church pastors and leaders as being in most need and with capacity to carry out the projects successfully.

    The housing project that CONASPEH is supporting is also being done in conjunction with the credit union. Families who are eligible to borrow funds to build homes will be loaned $8,000 to $10,000 at a low percentage rate (likely about 3 percent annually) to purchase the materials needed to construct the simply designed home. The design and engineering is provided by CONASPEH. Less expensive homes will be built as row houses where families will live in community. Stand-alone homes, though still simple in their design, can be built on individual pieces of land already owned or accessible to be bought by the future homeowners. The homes will have a cement foundation, plywood walls, and will consist of two bedrooms, a kitchen, a bathroom, and a living/dining room.

  2. Aid and Micro-loans to persons disabled by the earthquake, the traumatized, and their families. CONASPEH, through the credit union, provides a combination of financial aid and loans for amputees and others who were disabled by the earthquake and their families. The funds go toward medical attention and rehabilitation; loans go to help the families rebuild their economic livelihoods.

    For families who have been traumatized through the loss of a family member, CONASPEH also continues to offer pastoral support and trauma recovery through a CONASPEH Pastoral Committee.

  3. Revolving Fund to Rebuild Destroyed and Damaged CONASPEH Member Church Buildings. CONASPEH established a revolving fund which provides loans up to $15,000 to local churches that are ready to rebuild their schools, worship centers, and/or clinics. These loans will be repaid in a period of one to three years at a very low percentage rate. Approximately 2,500 CONASPEH member churches are located in the area affected by the earthquake and most suffered at least significant damage; many were completely destroyed. CONASPEH hopes to work with 250 churches on these projects in the next three years; in order to do this additional funds are needed for the revolving fund. The intent is to give loans to churches spread over the whole geographic area affected by the earthquake so that the churches which are reconstructed first are not all in the same area.

    Church designs are simpler than home designs and do not require the same technical skills needed to build multiple rooms, kitchens, etc. Many churches will be rebuilt with at least some assistance from visiting mission groups. The same space will be used for church and for school.

To give for the support of CONASPEH’s Reconstruction work in Haiti, click here and follow the directions at the top of the page.