last year, when i visited haiti two times, i mentioned the son of god orphanage over and over again. i posted photos, told stories, and rallied people. i brought my church’s senior pastor to haiti, and we established a church to church partnership that has, over the last 15 months, flourished in beautiful ways, including hundreds people from our church visiting the son of god orphanage, and a wide variety of help being provided.
i connected with a boy named jean-michelle there on one of my trips (this photo is of me and him), and keep his little signature taped to the wall in front of my desk. he gave it to me and asked, “please remember me.” it makes me ill to wonder whether jean-michelle is still there or has been sold off (or killed off, or abused) in the year since i’ve seen him.
so, i’ve been so sad over the last few months to have suspicions raised about mistreatment and trafficking. now, the proof has been documented. and six organizations — my church among them — are lobbying various haitian and american governmental agencies, as well as cnn and some other organizations, to shut this orphanage down quickly, before the remaining children are sold or abused in some other way. as the press release below states, there is strong reason to suspect that the haitian governmental department responsible for oversight in this area is complicit in the problem, which great complicates it.
here’s the press release that was issued yesterday:
After continued visits to the Son of God Orphanage in Carrefour, Haiti, six charitable organizations (Adventures in Missions, Bridgeway Church, Timberline Church, Children’s HopeChest, Journey Community Church, and Respire Haiti) have challenged the global community to force the hands of international leaders in the closure and investigation of the facility.
According to eye-witness accounts, the children at SOG have suffered some of the most heinous human rights abuses at the hands of the director of the orphanage, Maccene (Max) Hyppolite and his family.
Despite consistent delivery of relief for each child, including food, clothes, and medicine, the children have continued to suffer from malnourishment, curable diseases and parasites, as well as complete neglect of acute medical conditions.
Police conducted a successful sting operation after numerous individuals had been solicited by Hyppolite to purchase children. In July of 2011, Max Hyppolite was arrested while attempting to sell one of the orphans and he is currently in prison for child trafficking in Port au Prince.
Continued accounts from as recent as October 13th, 2011 indicate that the situation has only become worse, and to date there are 53 children who have disappeared and are unaccounted for.
The orphanage is currently being run by Hyppolite’s wife, Mary, who not only continues to say she does not know the whereabouts of the children, but has also threatened the lives of the relief workers who have sought assistance in from the Haitian government organization, IBESR (Institut du Bien Etre et de Recherches).
Given the sharing of information from IBESR to the Hyppolite family, cause for speculation has arisen regarding the government’s involvement in the trafficking of the children.
The six aforementioned organizations have worked together with Change.org to bring this issue to light. They have asked the global community to give these children the voice that has been stolen from them in hopes of world leaders recognizing the human rights violations occurring and the immediate call for the closure and investigation of the Son of God Orphanage in Haiti.
would you please help in this tiny, simple, but powerful way? would you please click though on these two petitions, and sign them both? please: close to 2000 people read this blog every day. if each of you would take 2 minutes (literally) to do this, you could play a role in saving the lives of these precious children in haiti.
Sign the original petition urging CNN to expose abuse & trafficking at Son of God Orphanage in Carrefour, Haiti
Sign the follow-up petition calling on Haitian President Michel Martelly and global leaders to close Son of God Orphanage and order an immediate investigation of the IBESR