A total of US$16,150 was handed over to the Salvation Army, on March 22 by United Way of Jamaica, as a part of measures to support the restoration efforts in Haiti.
The cheque was handed over during a brief ceremony held at the National Volunteer Centre, Camp Road, in Kingston. The sum represents the micro credit component of the restorative project, valued at US$55,000.
Chairman, Board of Governors at United Way of Jamaica, Noel DaCosta, informed that the micro credit will be used to improve the economic stability of 80 farmers and 120 women in Haiti who will receive seedlings for crops and pigs for breeding.
“The women will receive training in business techniques and given micro credit to increase their stock for sale in the local markets. The farmers will receive seedlings for crops and pigs for breeding,” Mr. DaCosta said.
He also informed that the United Way applied for and received an additional grant of US$160,000 from United Way Worldwide to continue the work of the Salvation Army in the restoration of Haiti.
“From that amount, US$100,000 has been designated for the renovation and construction of classrooms to accommodate 300 students. Construction will commence in July 2012,” Mr. DaCosta said.
In his remarks, Territorial Commander, Salvation Army, Colonel Onal Castor, expressed his appreciation to United Way of Jamaica for helping to alleviate the “suffering” of the Haitian people, who were affected by the earthquake in January 2010.
“With the funding that we are about to receive and will continue to receive, the Salvation Army is committed to aligning its programmes, projects and services to the Haiti Government’s plan, and to improve services in rural communities throughout Haiti,” Colonel Castor said.
He added that under the micro credit loan programme, women will be organised into groups of seven to nine, with each person receiving micro credit loan of up to US$80.
“Each month, 10 per cent of the amount borrowed must be repaid, plus an additional two per cent interest. Each group will have 10 months to repay the funds borrowed by the group members,” Colonel Castor said.
“The agricultural loans will improve the economic stability of farmers in the region, as the Salvation Army will provide established farms with seedlings or animals. The farmers will raise the crops and the animals and at harvest, families will repay the programme by returning the initial loan amount plus an additional amount of seedlings,” he added.
For his part, Ambassador Byron Blake, who represented former Prime Minister, the Most. Hon. P.J. Patterson, Special Representative, CARICOM-Haiti, said challenges still exist in Haiti after the destructive earthquake.
“The problems seem to be receding, but they are real. In fact, on our last visit to Haiti one of the visible signs was that the number of camps seems to have reduced significantly,” he said.
Ambassador Blake said CARICOM was appreciative and supportive of the work United Way Jamaica was doing through the Salvation Army, in assisting the reconstruction efforts in Haiti.
By Latonya Linton, JIS Reporter