HAITI: Salesian Missions provides funding for retaining wall near Salesian-run St. Paul Chapel in Cité Soleil, benefiting more than 200 community members
The newly constructed retaining wall separates the canal from the chapel grounds, protecting it from flooding during times of heavy rains.
NEW ROCHELLE, NY (April 23, 2019) Salesian Missions has provided the funding for the Salesian-run St. Paul Chapel to build a retaining wall separating a canal from chapel grounds. The chapel is located in Cité Soleil, an extremely impoverished and densely populated commune in the Port-au-Prince metropolitan area. The canal was a great threat to the chapel as the canal bed has grown over time and has caused landslides during times of heavy rain. The rains have also caused the canal to overflow with water invading the courtyard of the chapel.
The 75-meter structure has been needed in order to support and protect the chapel property, which runs along a nearby municipal drainage canal. The wall will prevent further soil erosion and protect the property against future flooding. The constructed wall is well anchored in the ground and is high enough and strong enough to contain the canal overflow.
More than 200 people who attend services at the St. Paul Chapel and live in the nearby neighborhoods have benefited from this construction. Additional work is expected in the next phase of the project once funding is secured. The goal is to build a slab over the canal for even more protection.
The Salesian-run Rinaldi Foundation, which was provided the funding and facilitated the project, noted in an article on its website, “While we can look with satisfaction at the work that has now been completed, the journey to this point has not been without many challenges. Delays and setbacks resulted from the difficulty in finding a qualified backhoe operator, unstable soil conditions, difficulties obtaining needed supplies, and the constant need to pump water in order to fight water levels and flooding due to rain. We thank our dedicated staff for their perseverance.”
The Rinaldi Foundation is the planning and development office of the Salesians of Don Bosco in Haiti. More than 22,000 youth and community members benefit from the schools, youth programs and ministry provided by Salesian missionaries in Haiti each year. For Salesian missionaries in Haiti, schools and youth programs fulfill an important socio-economic mission by providing poor youth a foundation for lifelong learning through education and training in skills and trades to help them escape poverty and establish a sustainable livelihood.
Haiti is the poorest country in the Americas ranking 163 out of 188 countries on the United Nations Human Development Index. The country also faces the highest levels of severe food insecurity in the world, according to the World Food Programme. More than half of the country’s population was chronically undernourished during 2012-2014, representing a total of 5.3 million Haitians. Nearly 100,000 Haitian children under the age of 5 suffer from acute malnutrition, causing irreversible stunted growth for close to 30 percent of all children in the country.
Haiti’s economy has also been repeatedly affected by political crises and natural disasters in the last two decades, exacerbating an already challenging situation. Nine years after the 2010 earthquake, Haiti’s population of 11 million continues to face humanitarian and development challenges.
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