October 2006-September 2007
Conseil National Spirituel des Églises D'Haiti
The National Spiritual Council of Churches of Haiti (CONASPEH), made up of 5,000 churches, is an umbrella organization for Protestant churches and associations in the country. Established in 1986, it seeks to be not only an advocate for its member churches, but also a preacher of the gospel to all peoples everywhere, particularly those in the remote areas of Haiti, sharing Christ's suffering as well his compassion for those in need. In that connection, CONASPEH, a long-standing partner of Global Ministries, has in place several programs all aimed at improving the lives of the poor by making it possible for them to live a life of dignity and respect.
Karen School of Nursing and Nursing Aides
Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, with over 80 percent of its people living in extreme poverty. There has been an incredible increase in the mortality rate due to AIDS in recent years, and many people live without access to quality (if any) healthcare. In 2005, CONASPEH assisted in the organization of a Nursing School which serves the poor communities of Haiti, providing training for nurses and nursing aides, who are the principle health workers in the remote villages and rural provinces of the country. The program provides training for those with limited income; currently there is only one other public school of nursing. There are four other private training schools but most prospective students cannot afford the cost.
Training for both nurses and nursing aides takes place over four years, and concludes with the receipt of an official, government-recognized diploma. Sixty students are currently studying to be nurses, and fifty are studying to become nursing aides. In their application letters to Karen School, most applicants say that their acceptance to the school has been their life-long dream, and an opportunity they have barely dared to hope for.
Unfortunately, the greatest challenge for the School this year has been its lack of funds, which has enormously disrupted some activities. The money the School has must go to pay for the salaries of faculty and staff, leaving the students without much financial assistance, if any. A new information course for students has also required the purchase of several new computers, putting the school in further financial distress. Karen School is in the process of searching for more funding for scholarship support for exceptionally low-income students.
André Theological Seminary
Started in 1999, this seminary was established to provide effective leadership to the Haitian churches by helping the leaders to know the word of God better and by reinforcing skills that will aid them in serving their congregations and communities. Here, theology is made relevant to the problems faced by these leaders and available solutions are analyzed with the Haitian people in mind.
Each year the seminary accepts students who come from church communities from all over Haiti. They receive theological training which lasts between one and four years, depending upon each student's level of intellect and number of years of experience. Most students receive fifteen credits per year. Two hundred students in all currently attend the seminary, with about forty graduating each year. The faculty is comprised of a combination of Haitian professors, and of visiting professors from other countries who often teach one or two-week-long classes. Though there are currently twelve seminaries in Haiti, André Theological Seminary is the only one which can provide its students with an official document upon matriculation, authorized by the Haitian Ministry of Worship.
Quality education continues to be a widespread problem in Haiti, and the Seminary strives to produce strong, capable church leaders who will work for positive change. The Seminary is working to secure greater financial security in order to provide more advanced programs of study, and to reach a greater number of Haitian youth, encouraging them to go into the field of theology. In addition to its current students, the Seminary works hard to provide support and assistance to pastors and church members throughout the country, especially addressing the urgent needs wrought by hurricanes and hunger.
Installation of a Transformer
CONASPEH is in the process of gathering funds for the installation of an electrical transformer in its current activities center. For the past eight years, the center has relied on a generator for its electrical needs, which cost the organization a fortune in fuel costs. Though the Haitian government allows the use of only six hours of electricity a day, the addition of the transformer will allow the center's computers, photocopiers, inverters, and other electrical equipment to run at the same time, and will be much more financially economical.
Construction of a New Activity Center
A new CONASPEH activity center was constructed in the location of Artibonite, and will house a school of one thousand students, a theological seminary, a nursing school, a professional center, and rooms for meetings. Church archives may also be collected and stored here, and the building will serve the greater community as a shelter in case of a natural disaster. Activities of the school, theological seminary, and nursing school will begin next September. In the meantime, the Center is working to organize area churches from the ground up, helping them unite through a vision of equality and to gain respect in the eyes of the Haitian government and greater community.
Despite challenges faced in the last year, CONASPEH looks to the future with hope, and is grateful for the support it receives from its friends overseas, including Global Ministries.
More about Haiti, including a list of projects through CONASPEH
Prepared by: Office of Resource Development
P.O. Box 1986
Indianapolis, IN 46206
Tel: (317) 713-2555
Fax: (317) 635-4323