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Appeal for help from Bermudian running orphanage in Haiti

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Reaching out: Philip Rego, founder of the Feed My Lambs charity in Haiti (File photograph)

A Bermudian who runs an orphanage in Haiti has asked the public to consider adoption to help move children out of the strife-torn country.

Philip Rego, the founder of the Feed My Lambs orphanage, said that protests taking place in Port-au-Prince, 70km from the orphanage, had led to violence across the island.

He said that, although the orphanage was safe, he was concerned that the violence could start to affect the children.

Mr Rego added that there were several university-aged students that the orphanage looked after who feared for their lives.

He said: “There are two choices in life that you don’t have any control over, where you’re born and who you’re born to.

“If someone can adopt these guys any second and put them even in the next country over we’ll take it, because everything is really chaotic here.

“We need to go from our office to Port-au-Prince because we have to get school supplies and there’s a possibility that we might not be coming back.”

He added: “There’s been chaos in Haiti for the last couple of years but it’s kicked up to a point that I’ve never seen before.

“One day school’s on, the next day school’s off, because there are kidnappings on the rise.”

“It’s unsafe, it’s uncertain, the food crisis is a nightmare.

“If anyone could help — I don’t care where they’re from — we need to get these kids out of here.”

Volunteers with the Haitian orphanage Feed My Lambs load hundreds of boxes onto a boat to safely ship supplies to the orphanage (Photograph by Philip Rego)

Mr Rego was speaking as protests involving thousands of people entered their second week in the Haitian capital.

Marchers, many masked to protect their identities, demanded protection from the gangs that had seized control of about 80 per cent of Port-au-Prince after the assassination of prime minister Jovenel Moïse in 2021.

The protests are the latest in a string of actions since 2018, which have included demands for social programmes, a reduction in energy prices and the prosecution of corrupt officials.

Mr Rego, speaking from Denver, Colorado, who earlier appealed for donations for his orphanage, said that the crisis was “the worst I’ve seen in a long time”.

He explained: “These guys are killing people left, right and centre and asking for a whole lot of money for ransom.

"I once sent 400,000 meals down to Haiti even though I knew there were problems.

“When we arrived with the food and paid taxes and everything, we still couldn’t go by road because the road was blocked.

“We ended up putting it on a sailboat, took it up to the ocean and pulled up in someone’s back yard, then packed it all into a truck and took it to the orphanage.”

Volunteers at the Haitian orphanage Feed My Lambs unload hundreds of boxes to safely transport supplies to the orphanage (Photograph by Philip Rego)

Mr Rego said that the orphanage was doing better than most because he had enough respect from both sides of the conflict to be left alone.

He told The Royal Gazette: “The people who cause havoc have called our guys and apologised because we give free education, medicine, food and clothes constantly.

“Normally, there are fires and gunshots all around us but no one’s had the nerve to come in through the gate.”

Mr Rego added that, while he understood the frustration of the protesters, he did not agree with those who killed over it.

He explained that many of those who were initially frustrated with the government’s inaction often joined a gang out of desperation in the first place.

But Mr Rego added that killings and terror were never justified — especially when aimed at civilians.

He said: “Two wrongs just don’t make a right.”

Mr Rego admitted that he had not seen many donations after last speaking with this paper.

But he added that he was still confident things could turn around for his orphanage.

Mr Rego said: “I always think that the greatest discouragements come when the blessings are about to happen.”

• Those who would like to donate to Feed My Lambs can send funds to the Clarien Bank account 6000253102 for Bermudian dollars or 6000253095 for US dollars. Donations can also be sent through PayPal to phirego58@gmail.com

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Published August 22, 2023 at 7:57 am (Updated August 22, 2023 at 7:44 am)

Appeal for help from Bermudian running orphanage in Haiti

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