YOU'VE IMPACTED 364 CHILDREN SO FAR
The most amazing thing about the number of children that Middle Ground’s programs have impacted, is that it is made up of individual lives. And the impact is even larger than the numbers we can measure. Each child belongs to a family that is being impacted - caregivers and siblings. And as each caregiver participates in our education and business classes, they bring that knowledge and experience to their communities, impacting even more lives. And in addition to those lives, each staff member of Middle Ground is able to impact their own families with a steady income.
The number of lives you are impacting with your donation is difficult to measure. But that number is made up of individuals created in the image of God. Every child who is treated from malnutrition in our recovery center is unique, special, and loved. Every caregiver that participates in the education and business classes have pasts, futures, heartaches, and joys. Every person has a story being written. And with your support, you are impacting each one.
OUR HOLISTIC APPROACH
Our formula program allows us to support babies under one year who would otherwise be without adequate nutrition. Primarily, these are babies whose mothers have died at birth or shortly after. This program aims to prevent childhood malnutrition by ensuring babies have proper nutrition in their first year of life. Each child and caregiver is given regular medical attention and ongoing education during their time in our formula program.
Our inpatient malnutrition program exists to provide temporary care for children who are affected by severe acute malnutrition. Children who meet the standards of severe acute malnutrition are treated by qualified medical staff following the Plumpy Nut treatment plan. They are also treated for general health concerns that are prevalent in children with malnutrition. During their time in the recovery center, the caregivers of our patients receive in-depth health education to enable them to better care for their children at home.
Our outpatient program enables us to treat moderate malnutrition without admitting children into inpatient care. Just as with inpatient recovery, children are treated according to the Plumpy Nut treatment plan. Caregiver and child are seen weekly to check on their progress and collect their mamba supplements. Most children who enter our outpatient program have fully recovered from malnutrition in 6-8 weeks.
Many of the families we see live in rural parts of Haiti, so we offer agriculture training to caregivers. Working with Harvest 107, a non-profit dedicated to supporting family preservation and sustainability through farming and agriculture, we are able to offer one-day agricultural workshops on how to plant, grow and care for crops. Harvest 107 has also provided us with a fresh vegetable garden right at the recovery center. This not only provides the center with fresh nutritious food, but also allows caregivers to learn using the garden as a teaching tool.
On completion of the workshop, parents receive a starter seed pack, giving them the initial tools for growing food to feed their family. Often the caregivers who live rurally will use this in addition to their business training to start generating an income for their family by growing and selling fresh produce.
Read more about the incredible work Harvest 107 is doing with communities and farmers in Haiti www.harvest107.org.
A large part of the reason that children are admitted in our programs is due to a lack of education. There are often many misconceptions about nutritional meals, what to do when a child shows symptoms of malnutrition, and how to treat these symptoms. We believe that a sustainable treatment process MUST be partnered with education.
All the caregivers attend mandatory classes focused on nutrition and health that are run by our medical staff. Our classes, which we designed in collaboration with a nutritionist, are set up to educate families on the nutritional requirements for healthy development, the nutritional value of foods and tips for safe food preparation. We also teach about important health issues including:
- the causes of malnutrition and preventing malnutrition from reoccurring
- hygiene practices (including the importance of clean water, hand-washing and the essence of personal care)
- cholera & diarrhea management and how to recognize dehydration
- child development
- the importance of play
- birth control, pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Our medical staff also work one-on-one with families, taking the time to explain the whys and hows of the treatment they give.
Counselling and Spiritual Health
Life in Haiti is incredibly difficult for the majority of people who live here, especially the families that come to our center. Sickness, death, injustice, and other hardships are an unfortunate reality. We believe that mental and spiritual counselling are an extremely opportunity part of our approach to healing. Because of this, we partner with Espere Counselling Center to provide an option for counselling to every parent, caregiver and child over the age of three in our programs, as well as our staff. We also offer individual and group grief counselling to families experiencing loss.
In addition to this, we also hold Bible studies twice a week, and members from the local church (Eglise Espoir) will often come to pray with the parents of the children in our care.
Our business classes are offered to parents whose children have graduated from our program and whose participation and follow up in their children's care has proven to us that they are committed to their health and well-being. The training is based on a program developed by Lorika Foundation. This program has been adapted to reflect Haitian culture and practices. It teaches practical business skills using drawings and pictures, making it suitable for those who are illiterate. Topics covered include:
- profit and loss
- money for living
- avoiding failure
- business community
- business plans
- money management and recording keeping
- sustaining life
Once parents complete and pass the classes, they can apply to Middle Ground for a small business loan. Parents are encouraged to start a business based on their passion and skills as well as what is practical in their community. To find out more about the loan program or to support a loan, click here.
In the past, we’ve offered this program to business leaders in other organizations in Haiti (Train the Trainer) and to the biological families of children who have been placed for adoption. If you’re interested in these programs, let us know.
In our efforts to impact the future of families and well as Haiti as a whole, we offer school sponsorship to the children who have gone through our programs. Education is a vital part of long-term sustainability, but unfortunately education is not free in Haiti and many families cannot afford to pay for their children’s tuition. Through the program, we offer tuition sponsorship as well as assistance with school supplies, books, and uniforms.
The children who graduate from our programs are required to attend follow-up appointments after they are released from our care. Patients are initially seen after two weeks at home, as those first few weeks are the most vulnerable for malnutrition cases. They are then required to come monthly for six months, and finally graduate to appointments once a year to follow their ongoing health at home.
Our family preservation program is offered on a case-by-case basis to those in very vulnerable situations. The program primarily focuses on young, single mothers with no support or children who are in immediate danger of being relinquished to outside care. Because this is offered rarely and based on individual circumstances, the support we give varies and never looks exactly the same. Some of the things we have offered as part of this program are counselling, school sponsorship, college tuition support, and housing and temporary food stipends.