Project Medishare | Appeal for humanitarian assistance for Haitians leaving the Dominican Republic
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Appeal for humanitarian assistance for Haitians leaving the Dominican Republic

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“The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.” Maya Angelou

In the last two weeks, hundreds of people have arrived in Lahoye, deported as part of an immigration ruling in the Dominican Republic largely affecting people of Haitian descent. For more than 15 years, Project Medishare has provided services in the commune of Lahoye, a town in Haiti on the border with the Dominican Republic (DR). Project Medishare health agents have been busy registering deportees from the DR. Although the health center is located more than a 12-hour walk from an official crossing – most everyone who registered made the long journey on foot.

The Project Medishare team reviewing papers delivered by health agents with new names and locations of the new arrivals

One woman who made the journey was 24-year-old Janise. Janise is 6 months pregnant and was deported from Santo Domingo with her 2-year old child with no possessions or money. Her husband is still in the Dominican Republic so she came to stay with distant family. She walked the 12 hours with her 2-year-old child to reach Lahoye from where the immigration truck dropped her at the border.

Janise, describing her journey from the border to Lahoye

Janise, describing her journey from the border to Lahoye

Many of the immigrants coming to Lahoye have origins or family in the area. Most of the men worked in construction but now have no means of income. Sadly, any money they saved and their belongings were left behind or stolen by Dominican Republic immigration agents. In many cases, these deportees were told to go back to their homes to take items and the guards would instead steal all the household goods including TVs, washing machines, stereos and any hidden money.

A group of Haitians who worked in construction in the Dominican Republic and were deported last week

Not one person the Medishare team met with returned to Haiti voluntarily, contrary to what some of the media is reporting. Men were deported in their work clothes, their phones and money stolen. Guards tore up any identifying documents people had with them – including a Haitian passport with a Dominican work visa. One child, Manuel, age 10, was born in the Dominican Republic but does not have access to Dominican citizenship because of his heritage. He is now staying with his grandmother but is worried about where he will be able to go to school and says he misses his parents.

10 year old, Manuel, born in the Dominican Republic

10 year old, Manuel, born in the Dominican Republic

Next week, each family will receive a hygiene kit and a medical consultation. Our Lahoye clinic is expanding hours and anti-cholera activities to be able to provide for the deportees. If you would like to support our relief efforts, please make a donation here. Only $35 provides a hygiene kit to a displaced family with emergency supply items. All donations will be used towards assisting these displaced populations with healthcare services and daily needs.

Items included a hygiene kit:

  • Plastic Wash bin
  • Deodorant (2)
  • Chlorox
  • Shampoo (3)
  • Soap (2)
  • Plastic pitcher, cups and plates (4)
  • Towels (2)
  • Toothpaste (4)
  • Toothbrushes (4)
  • Laundry soap (6)
  • Cleaning soap (6)
  • Antibacterial soap (3)
  • Toilet paper (6)
  • Sanitary pads (4 packs)