Mississippi Mills residents provided aid relief to Haiti
long before the Jan. 12 earthquake and this help will continue pouring in long
after, says one resident.
Mississippi Mills donations are helping feed orphans in Haiti.
Jeff Mills, part of the Focus on Development group, says
funds raised from the Haiti SOS benefit concert at Almonte’s Old Town Hall
totaled more than $20,000 and the donations keep coming.
All funds go directly into the hands of Almonte resident
Dieudonne Batraville who has myriad ways to spend it following the earthquake’s
Batraville leads development projects in the rural communities of the Artibonite Valley
east of Saint-Marc, Haiti, her hometown. She stays in
this area most of the year, located less than two hours north of Port-au-Prince, to work
for a Sarnia-based non-governmental organization. Mills says she comes back to
Almonte to recharge her batteries after long stints away.
residents fleeing the devastated capital of Port-au-Prince for safe havens, Batraville
has seen an influx of refugees to her area, which was not directly hit.
has been able to help earthquake victims with money from Mississippi Mills.
is about a small town helping a small town,” Mills says.
in contact with Batraville via e-mail on a regular basis and she provides him
money has been used to transport people from Port-au-Prince to Saint-Marc, it has paid for
school uniforms and for funerals. It has also been used to pay for medical
kits, to buy food and to treat pregnant women.
addition, Batraville is caring for a group of children left orphaned following
the disaster. Money is being used to place them in schools, house and feed
“We have accomplished a lot. All these would
not be possible without your money, your concerns … many have been
comforted, encouraged, healed, fed, clothed, buried with your financial aid,”
Batraville writes in an e-mail to Mills.
to the people of Almonte and Carleton
Place. I can feel the prayers… I am very proud of
my Canadian friends.”
also spoke about the bonds that tie Mississippi Mills and Saint-Marc together.
is an incredibly strong community feeling. People know Dieudonne and how hard she
works,” Mills says.
Batraville arrived in Haiti
the day the earthquake struck. In conversations leading up to her departure she
told Mills that she planned to spend money raised through Focus on Development
on a new cement mixer to pour a concrete floor into a local school.
money was quickly needed elsewhere.
was a great need before and even more is needed now,” Mills says.
no stranger to the country, which holds a special place in his heart. He has
travelled there on four separate occasions and plans to go again this year.
are our brothers. (Haiti)
is so rich in culture and generosity,” he says.
local generosity has also blown Mills away.
couldn’t handle all the stuff coming in,” he says, referring to silent auction
on Development remains committed to raising money to support Batraville’s work
and Mills vows Haiti will not be forgotten.
“The problems of Haiti
are immense, but we have a direct relation with people on the ground there,” he
not big, but we’re trying to
help a small region of Haiti.”
You can send
donations to Focus on Development, c/o Jeff Mills, 684 6th
RR #1 Pakenham
ON K0A 2X0.