National Spiritual Council of Churches of Haiti (CONASPEH)
The National Spiritual Council of Churches of Haiti (CONASPEH) continues in Development and Reconstruction from the January 12, 2010, earthquake. In a recent visit by Reverend Patrick Villier, President of CONASPEH, and submitted report, CONASPEH conveys its deep appreciation for the partnership with the United Church of Christ and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) through Global Ministries. For CONASPEH, this partnership has been a source of strength in the recent years, just as it had been before the earthquake
The second new building constructed after the earthquake, the Classroom Building on the CONASPEH grounds, is nearing completion with the dedication set for late summer, 2012. As shared previously, it is being built on an area of a bit more than 18,000 square feet. The building has two floors with classrooms. The student capacity is 1300. The building includes an open-air auditorium to seat 1,000 people. The auditorium has a roof but open walls. In addition to its uses in CONASPEH programs such as training of seminarians, graduations, conferences, and other events, the auditorium will also be available to CONASPEH churches when they have an event.
The Classroom Building also includes laboratories for languages, physics, chemistry, and computer science. The library will include materials in three sections: the K-12 school, the theological seminary, and the nursing school. The building includes a water reservoir and restrooms. The Classroom Building is built of steel and concrete and constructed to withstand earthquakes and high winds. This building design called 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.
Until the Classroom Building is fully complete and in use, the first new building built after the earthquake and inaugurated in February, 2011, continues to house elements of the nursing school and theological seminary. This first building eventually will serve as offices, a welcome center, meeting areas, and storage.
CONASPEH continues to re-equip its facilities and programs with the materials and resources vital to their functioning and to purchase supplies needed as their mission continues to grow and evolve. One major project is to re-stock the library, as only 2,000 books remained after the earthquake. Texts for the K-12 school, theological seminary, Karen School of Nursing, and skills-training courses in computation, refrigeration, and language are being acquired. In recent months, 60 computers have been purchased and the chemistry lab is being equipped for use by both high school students and nurses. A diesel generator also has been purchased in order to provide electrical power on a consistent basis.
CONASPEH’s Vocational School is set to begin in the fall. Vocational students will learn construction skills using steel. A welding machine and basic equipment have been obtained. There is much building and re-building yet to be done throughout Port-au-Prince and Haiti in general and those who can receive training through the vocational school will be at an advantage for potential jobs. The Vocational School certificate is the equivalent of a high school education. There already are 100 students enrolled to begin in the fall vocational training course. CONASPEH plans to offer shifts of classes each day, one in the morning and another in the evening, to maximize the number of students who can enroll. These students will also have classes in improving their literacy, computer skills, and English.
One of the essential purchases for CONASPEH’s work and their welcoming of pilgrimage groups to Haiti was the addition of two vehicles. CONASPEH had planned toward the purchase of these vehicles since shortly after the earthquake and it is very exciting to finally be able to acquire them. The mini-bus, which will be vital to the ministry of groups visiting CONASPEH from the U.S. and elsewhere, has been purchased and is anticipated in mid-June, 2012. The second vehicle envisioned for their work was a smaller utility vehicle, such as an extended cab pickup or a SUV, for the CONASPEH leadership and mission staff to reach remote churches. Until these vehicles were purchased, CONASPEH rented vehicles to meet these needs.
CONASPEH continues to administer a Mutual Support Program through UNICEC, a co-op and credit union organization with experience in the administration of micro-loans, project assessment, and grassroots education for co-op members taking out micro-loans for small business efforts. In addition to administering loans in Port-au-Prince, UNICEC also works with CONASPEH in Jacmel, Artibonite, and Les Cayes. CONASPEH has a committee, made up primarily of young pastors with experience in cooperatives that works with Lumicec in the analytical, educational, and administrative portions of the program. Loan interest rates are about three percent. Lumicec receives two percent for their administration of the program and CONASPEH receives the remaining one percent to reinvest in ongoing ministries. The Mutual Support Program has three aspects.
- Micro-loans to families affected by the earthquake. In order to rebuild the grassroots economy in Haiti, loans of up to $500 are being made to families to allow them to start income-generation projects. Lumicec 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 in a period of six to 12 months. Loans also are used to help families move to more stable housing. 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.
Aid and Micro-loans to persons disabled by the earthquake, the traumatized, and their families. CONASPEH, through Lumicec, provides a combination of financial aid and loans for amputees and others who were disabled by the earthquake along with 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 continues to offer pastoral support and trauma recovery through a CONASPEH Pastoral Committee.
- Revolving Fund to rebuild destroyed and damaged CONASPEH Member Church Buildings. CONASPEH established a revolving fund which provides loans up to $1,200 to local churches that are ready to rebuild their buildings, which also function as schools, worship centers, community centers, and/or clinics. These loans will be repaid in a period of one to three years at a very low percentage rate.
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. A deeded property adjacent to the CONASPEH property is being purchased and a building will be constructed there. The plan is for an open-concept building with dormitory, kitchen, dining/meeting area, and restrooms. It will be a one story structure with a steel framework similar to other new buildings being built by CONASPEH. Twenty bedrooms, each outfitted to house several guests, are planned for the structure and additional space to house a Haitian administrator and a global mission staff person. The name for the center is the Ferdinand Garcia Transformational Center, named for a long-time Disciple friend and supporter of CONASPEH who died in 2003. It is recognized that this Center will be a place of hospitality and for participants to discuss, reflect, and to be transformed. CONASPEH’s partnership with Global Ministries 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 all to know and to serve each other better.
There are many more challenges to be addressed in Haiti and CONASPEH continues to work in many additional areas, seeking the best for the people in Haiti. For example, CONASPEH is engaged in raising chickens to generate income, caring for children in orphanages and, ultimately, rebuilding lives and people’s dignity. In addition to financial support for the projects and programs of CONASPEH, the fielding of Global Ministries mission personnel to Haiti is key to community development and recovery. CONASPEH extends heartfelt thanks for the partnership, the support received both in financial and person-in-mission terms, and for the many prayers for their work and the people of Haiti.
Gifts for CONASPEH’s Reconstruction and Development Plans may be directed to:
Office for Resource Development
P.O. Box 1986
Indianapolis, IN 46206
|Update: CONASPEH Mutual Support Program Update, in partnership with the National Union for the Integration and Cooperation of Churches and Communities (UNICEC)|
June 10, 2013
Global Ministries recently has received a report for the year ending August 31, 2012 on the CONASPEH Mutual Support Program, a component of CONASPEH’s rebuilding and reconstruction work being done after the January 2010 earthquake. The Mutual Support Program, which provides small loans to families and churches to rebuild homes and church buildings, to begin income generation projects, and to finance education, is done in partnership with the National Union for the Integration and Cooperation of Churches and Communities (UNICEC).
CONASPEH and UNICEC have been working diligently to provide loans to help individuals get back on their feet after the devastation from the 2010 earthquake. Click here to access the full report which includes a description of some of the projects supported, and a financial report.
CONASPEH and UNICEC hope to continue growing this program, with more families as members. Global Ministries welcomes additional gifts to the CONASPEH Fund within UNICEC in order to provide more new loans and to provide follow-up loans to those who wish to expand and reinforce their existing income-generation efforts.
The financial information in the report is listed in Haitian gourdes. Below we have converted it to U.S. dollars as follows:
Investment CONASPEH $29,131.68
Financial Income 7,227.42
Deposits Received from Clients 2,358.51
Credit/Loan Granted $31,691.50
Office Supplies 372.09
Operating Activities 743.28
The total funds loaned: $26,070.20
Average Loan was: $173.80