January 10, 2020 – COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Ten-year-old Wisnerley was doing her homework when a 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck Haiti on January 12, 2010. She remembers, “The ground was shaking, people were running and even voodoo practitioners were calling Jesus because they didn’t understand what was happening.”
Wisnerley, a sponsored child in Compassion International’s child development program at the time, was just one of the millions affected by the catastrophic earthquake. As the tenth anniversary of the catastrophic quake approaches, Compassion is taking a moment to remember all who were affected. When the shaking stopped, some estimates say more than 220,000 people were killed, 330,000 injured, and 2 million displaced. And everyone suffered trauma. Compassion itself lost 63 children, one staff member and one contractor. Hundreds more were injured or lost loved ones.
Compassion has served in Haiti since 1968, partnering with local churches to deliver its holistic child development program to children in poverty. Following the quake, the global organization raised more than $31 million in relief funds. These funds were used primarily to construct 30 schools throughout Haiti (all built to international seismic standards), so Haitian children could have a safe place to learn, grow and play. Monies were also used to provide income-generating microloans, which resulted in the creation of more than 450 small businesses and thousands of jobs.
Against all odds, Compassion Haiti has experienced tremendous growth:
- Compassion’s child development programs have grown, with the addition of 59,766 more babies, children and young adults. This brings the total number of beneficiaries to 125,266 since January 2010.
- And 123 new church partnerships have been formed with local Haitian churches, bringing the total to 353 since the disaster.
“Ten years later, our country still has much healing to do,” says Guilbaud St. Cyr, Compassion Haiti’s national director. “We have been blessed to play our role in the restoration, working alongside God to provide a future and a hope for the children of Haiti. We are confident He will continue to bless our ministry as we expand to release even more children from poverty in Jesus’ name.”
As for Wisnerley? She’s now 20 years old, and she plans to study diplomacy and international relations.