In a somber announcement, Star of Hope reveals the termination and loss of its long-standing donor-recipient relationship with Institution Mixte Bethlehem de Rigaud in response to the devastating crisis unfolding in Rigaud, Haiti.
End of an Era: After over 30 years of dedicated involvement in humanitarian, educational, evangelical, and community projects, Star of Hope expresses deep regret in bringing an end to its partnership with Rigaud. The decision comes amidst an unprecedented crisis that has gripped the region.
Reflecting on Rigaud’s Transformation: Divided into two transformative periods, 1989-1998 and 1998-2023, Star of Hope collaborated with Calvary Baptist Church and Bethlehem Church, respectively. Over these years, a multitude of projects focused on humanitarian aid, education, and community development:
- Humanitarian Aid: Numerous food aid and relief operations were conducted, offering essential support during natural disasters and political unrest.
- Education: The sponsorship program facilitated quality education for over 5,000 children aged 3 to 17 at the Rigaud school. Despite recent challenges, the organization constructed three school buildings, and a church, and provided essential infrastructure, including furniture, teaching materials, and a water system.
- Community Development: Support for chicken and goat breeding projects, well-drilling initiatives, water pump installations, and a water filtration system contributed to sustainable development.
- Training Sessions: Rigorous training sessions were organized for school staff, pastors, deacons, and laypeople, fostering capacity building and community empowerment.
Current Crisis in Rigaud: Regrettably, Rigaud has fallen victim to powerful, armed gangs, resulting in the displacement of the entire population. The once vibrant school and church now lie closed, broken, and looted, as residents flee for their lives, facing an uncertain future. In consultation with Pastor Samson Pierre, Star of Hope has made the heart-wrenching decision to terminate development aid for Rigaud, citing the untenable situation on the ground.
- Criminal Dominance: 80% of Port-au-Prince is under the control of criminal gangs, instilling widespread fear.
- Continuous Presence: Star of Hope remains the sole Swedish aid organization on the ground, with a remarkable 46-year presence.
- Population Displacement: Rigaud faces a constant threat, resulting in the displacement of 90% of the local population.
- Destruction: Recent violence has led to the destruction of homes, schools, and public infrastructure.
- Leaders in Hiding: Managers and pastors are in hiding, and the whereabouts of sponsored children and their families are unknown.
Roots of Crisis: Haiti, besieged by numerous crises, faces a power vacuum, with no presidential elections since 2016. Criminal groups control cities due to the absence of a functioning military, exacerbating widespread poverty and food shortages. Ongoing protests demand political change.
Conclusion: The decision to terminate aid operations reflects the impossibility of carrying out missions in the current circumstances. Star of Hope implores the United Nations to prioritize efforts to restore stability and address the root causes of the crisis in Haiti. The organization remains unwavering in its commitment to humanitarian work, eagerly anticipating collaboration with the international community to bring relief to those affected.
For further information, contact:
Mark Presson, CEO
Star of Hope USA