World churches seek to support social change in Haiti

By agency reporter
November 27, 2008

An international ecumenical delegation of church representatives is currently paying a solidarity visit to churches, ecumenical organizations and civil society movements in Haiti.

The trip is scheduled from 24 to 28 November. The team are visiting the capital Port-au-Prince and areas affected by recent hurricanes.

The visit aims to express solidarity with the Haitian people and to listen to the churches in the country. Through visits to local Christian communities, civil society organizations, humanitarian agencies and political representatives, the international ecumenical representatives are learning about their concerns and hopes.

Even for Haiti, a country that has known few good years in its convulsed history, but 2008 could fairly be called an 'annus horribilis'. Facing endemic corruption problems and ranking as one of the most violent countries in the world, Haiti has seen further deterioration in its political stability as the increase in food prices caused a popular revolt in April 2008.

Then hurricanes Fay, Gustav, Hanna, and most recently Ike, brought about serious flooding in many areas, leaving as many as one million Haitian homeless, more than 500 dead and further weakening the country's agricultural capacity.

The ecumenical team are gathering first-hand experience through field visits to hurricane-affected areas and by meeting representatives from organizations which are grappling with violence and conflict in the country. It is also getting to know initiatives dealing with violence against most vulnerable sectors like street children and women.

Organized by the World Council of Churches (WCC), the visit is hosted by the Protestant Federation of Haiti in collaboration with ecumenical and church agencies based in the country.

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