Global Ministries Awaits Word on Students it Funds in Haiti
New York, NY, January 21, 2010--The General Board of Global Ministries is awaiting word in the aftermath of the January 12 earthquake on the situations and safety of students in Port-au-Prince who receive major scholarships from the mission agency.
As of January 24, e-mail messages indicated that three of six known to be in Port-au-Prince were safe. Word was received on January 21 from Jose-Asnia Deriveau and Jules Daniel Josee, according to Lisa Katzenstein, who heads the scholarship office at Global Ministries. "The fact that we have no news about the others raises fears, but we pray this does not mean they have been injured or worse," she said.
An email from Jean Maxary Bourdeau on January 24 said he had reached his parent's home in Jeremie. He reported that his family members were uninjured.
Attempts have been made to reach the students by telephone and email. Communications networks in Haiti were badly damaged by the earthquake.
"We are deeply concerned about the safety of our students in Port-au-Prince," said Bishop Joel Martinez, interim general secretary of Global Ministries. "We are continuing to seek information and will share what we learn with the church."
Ms. Deriveau, who is studying pediatrics at the Université Notre Dame d'Haiti, and Mr. Josee, a student of business administration at the Université Quisqueya (UniQ) in Port-au-Prince, reported extensive damage.
"All the structures are ravaged," Mr. Josee said. "No drinkable water, no university, a lot of dead and wounded people."
Ms. Deriveau wrote that she had left the university a bit early on January 12 and was in a vehicle on the way home. Houses crumbled along the road. "I had to stay in the street for two days far from home and alone. The capital city is totally destroyed; government institutions, houses, academic institutions are all damaged.... It is really awful. Now I am home in the province."
Mr. Bourdeau, a medical student at the University of Notre Dame of Haiti, said that his house fell around him, adding that his university was badly damaged. He lost several friends, including a small child whose body he helped to clear from the rubble.
The seven Global Ministries scholarship holders are recipients of International Leadership Development grants. These stipends are for multiple years of study in order to equip students for leadership roles in church and society. Of the seven, six are studying medicine. Mr. Josee is in business.
A former scholarship holder, Pierre Rodny Saint Clair, who recently received a law degree from the École Supérieure Catholique de Droits de Jérémie, reported that he was safe. "The earthquake didn't shake Jérémie so much as in Port-au-Prince," he wrote. "I feel very happy that Global Ministries did not forget about us here," he said in reference to the efforts of the agency to contact him.
"We urge prayer for the students from whom we have not heard," said Bishop Martinez, "and for all of the people of Haiti whose lives have been so transformed by the earthquake."
Date posted: Jan 25, 2010