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Together we can help make a difference - Haiti October 2011

25 October 2011


                       Together we can help make a difference

On 29th October 2011, seven Sisters of Mercy will travel to Haiti to participate in Build it Week with the Haven Partnership, along with three family members of the sisters. We are delighted to be able to sponsor Sr. Mary Walshe’s sister and nephew and Sr. Mary Madigan’s sister to take part in the Build it Week from the additional funding that was raised by those who travelled to Haiti in April 2011.
On this occasion, the Sisters of Mercy and the Haven volunteers will be working in the epicentre of the earthquake, a place called Leogane- 18 miles outside Port Au Prince, capital of Haiti. 

Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. More than 75 percent of the population lives below the official poverty line of $2 a day and more than half live on $1. 40 percent of families do not have enough to eat. Since the earthquake struck, 1.3 million people are homeless. Most of us are aware of these statistics and in our own way have been contributing to the many events and fund-raisers organised throughout Ireland since January 12th 2010. 


So what is the Haven Partnership? Recently the founder of Haven, Leslie Buckley was named Cork Person of the Month. Mr. Buckley is one of Ireland’s leading business people with a hugely successful record as an entrepreneur and business consultant. He and his wife, Carmel, set up the Haven Partnership in late 2008. Leslie’s business interests had brought him to Haiti for the first time in 2004. The level of poverty he saw there horrified him. He there and then decided to do something about it. He set up Haven with an initial donation of 1 million Euro. It is a house and community building NGO focussed solely on Haiti since the first sod was turned there in 2009. In that year Haven brought 260 volunteers from Ireland on its first Build It Week. This first project undertaken in Haiti took place in the North East of the country with a population of approximately 100,000. It is a mainly rural area and very under-developed. There, Haven hopes to build 200 new homes and upgrade 250 more.

Since then twice a year Haven’s Haitian workforce is joined on site by a team of volunteers who take part in an intensive Build It Week. While there, the volunteers live and work on the building site in extremely basic conditions. Most of the beneficiaries previously lived in makeshift huts, often with thatched roofs. They have no running water and most have no toilet facilities. Since the earthquake they no longer have anything and Haven has been working in the capital, Port-au-Prince, providing emergency relief to those most affected.

Listening to the reasons the Sisters gave for volunteering speak loudly about the commitment, the generosity, and the Chapter call which motivates us to do what we can, where we can and when we can in all the places where Mercy is alive and well.


Mary Walsh rsm

Mary Walsh


Veronica Jones rsm

Veronica Jones

Carmel Keaveney - sister of Mary Walsh rsm

Carmel Keaveney

Bernadette Costello rsm

Bernadette Costello

Barry Walsh - nephew of Mary Walsh rsm

Barry Walsh

 Kate Morris rsm

Kate Morris


Mary Madigan rsm

Mary Madigan


Kathy Higgins rsm

Kathy Higgins

Bridie Madigan - sister of Mary Madigan rsm

Bridie Madigan

 Nora Flynn rsm

Nora Flynn

At this difficult time in our Mercy story it is inspiring and encouraging to see that the spirit of Catherine faithfully followed by Mercy women over the last 179 years is still evoking a ‘yes’ in the hearts of so many of our Sisters and friends. Catherine’s maxim “...the poor need help today, not next week” is still relevant.

Let us continue to encourage and support the Sisters who are at this time busy fundraising and preparing physically to respond to extreme poverty in Haiti and an experience which will be both challenging and life changing for all involved.

Veronica Mangan rsm 
Provincial Team, Southern Province


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