What We Do
Light From Light helps the people of Haiti to build a new foundation for living – one that not only addresses the immediacy of suffering, but also lays the groundwork for long-term change. Our vision for our friends in Haiti is a healthy, self-sustaining rhythm of life.
By provide funding, expertise and mission trips to Haitian communities, Light From Light makes the foundations of progress stronger – from nutrition and education for children, to healthcare, farming practices and clean water.
Building Community Cornerstones
We seed and support basic community needs that alleviate suffering, improve quality of life and are essential to transformation.
Haiti’s healthcare system is severely overtaxed, with just six health professionals per 10,000 people and about 40% of the population lacking access to essential health and nutrition services. Those who go to a hospital may be unable to afford the care, medicine or even food to eat while there. In response, Light From Light helped our sister organization Lespwa Timoun to open a health clinic in Croix des Bouquets, a suburb of Port au Prince, in 2003. The clinic, staffed by 30+ Haitians, brings health and nutrition to approximately 1,000 adults and children monthly, with laboratory, ultrasound, EKG, vaccination and pharmacy services on site.
If you live in a remote village in Haiti, the only way to see a doctor is to travel, most likely by foot, for hours or even days to a nearby city. Travelling this way is impossible for those who are gravely ill, and impractical for basic preventative care. Our medical mission teams partner with Lespwa Timoun to bring mobile clinics and medication to severely underserved communities on a regular basis. Communities partner in the effort by clearing roads for our vehicles, underscoring their need, commitment and gratitude.
The hardy moringa tree, also known as the “miracle tree,” has been identified as a potential solution to two of Haiti’s biggest problems – malnutrition and deforestation. Less than 2% of Haiti’s land is forested, leaving the country especially vulnerable in natural disasters. Planting moringa trees helps address erosion, grows quickly even in drought conditions and offers rich nutrition – protein, calcium, iron, potassium and vitamins A and C. Light From Light has piloted a moringa project for the remote Crochu village area, distributing and planting 2,500 of the trees to give the community a self-sustaining source of nutrition and environmental protection.
DENTAL & VISION
Most Haitians have never seen a dentist, and many lack even basic preventative care. Likewise, eye care and prescriptions are not widely available. Light From Light mission teams bring physicians, dentists, optometrists and necessary supplies to the Lespwa Timoun clinic, as well as to remote villages. Recently, we began partnering with Haitian dental school students to expand this treatment and education. The settings for clinics, particularly in rural areas, are often rudimentary, but the effect of the services are nevertheless transformational for a person living with pain and discomfort.
Close to 70 percent of Haitians lack direct access to clean, safe drinking water. Women and young girls, particularly in rural areas, are responsible for walking to the nearest stream or pond, sometimes miles away, to retrieve water for their families. This water carries water-borne diseases like cholera, typhoid and chronic diarrhea that lead to more than half of deaths in Haiti annually. At the Lespwa Timoun clinic, where we treat these diseases, we have built a deep-water well, water tank and septic system to provide clean water for patients. We also provide clean water education and build latrines to prevent water contamination for community schools and remote villages.
When construction needs arise, Light from Light responds with the resources for materials, pay for local construction workers or mission teams to provide labor. Among the many projects we have completed are major initiatives like schools, churches and the Lespwa Timoun clinic, infrastructure projects like rural roads, latrines and wells, and targeted needs like school desks, church benches and pharmacy shelves.
We promote and protect the health and potential of children, who are the future of Haiti.
Malnutrition is one of the leading causes of death among Haitian children and of stunted growth, seen in one out of five children under age five. Carmel Valdema founded our sister organization, Lespwa Timoun (“Hope for Children”), in response to the widespread malnutrition in the villages outside Croix des Bouquets in 2003. Since then, with Light From Light, the clinic has provided life-saving nourishment to more than 12,000 children locally and in remote villages. Parents are educated on proper nutrition and can learn to grow food in our demonstration garden.
Like most parents, Haitians want to see their children learn and thrive in school. But, most Haitian schools are private, and families simply lack the means to pay tuition. As a result, only 57% of children are enrolled in primary school, and only one in three students reach sixth grade. Light from Light has a scholarship program to provide annual support so hundreds of former nutrition program children can receive an education. The scholarship allows a child to attend school and also provides uniforms and school supplies.
Like all children, those in Haiti are rich in spirit and possibility. The Light From Light child sponsorship program was created to nurture that light in the children who are the future of their community and their nation. For just over $1 a day, sponsors provide basic needs and an education, plus create a personal, life-changing connection with a child in need. The program also provides monthly nutrition and mobile medical programs for the child’s village. With this small investment, you can create life-changing transformation.
Empowering Local Leaders
We believe that communities are best served by strong local leaders and vision. But, capable community leaders in Haiti lack access to sufficient resources and tools to support and sustain their work. Light From Light walks and works alongside those who can most effectively spread progress in their local homes and communities, empowering them to create long-term change.
This Haitian NGO and certified health provider is led by founder Carmel Valdema, a registered nurse and an experienced, respected community health leader we have worked with for more than 30 years. The Haitian government regularly turns to Lespwa Timoun to fill gaps that its own resources cannot cover. We and the Haitian community know this organization is a provider of compassionate care with real impact for the Haitian people.
Lespwa Timoun Clinic trains and equips traditional birth attendants (midwives) to serve in the mountains of Crochu and Boucan Boyer. These skilled attendants can recognize and address complications during births in their mountain communities – valuable expertise in a nation with the highest maternal and infant mortality rates in the Western hemisphere. With Light From Light’s support, Lespwa Timoun holds monthly training for attendants and provides delivery kits and supplies needed for at home births.
Those who are eager to learn and improve life for their families hold the greatest promise for spreading progress in their homes and communities. To empower these individuals, we support Lespwa Timoun’s outreach education programs, which include classes on proper personal hygiene and medical topics such as high blood pressure, diabetes, STD/AIDS, hand washing, drinking potable water and nutrition.