Subscribe via E-Mail Get the newswire delivered to you – free! {source} [[form name=”ccoptin” action=”” target=”_blank” method=”post”]] [[input type=”text” name=”ea” size=”20″ value=”” style=”font-family:Verdana,Geneva,Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif; font-size:10px; border:1px solid #999999;”]] [[input type=”submit” name=”go” value=”GO” class=”submit” style=”font-family:Verdana,Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif; font-size:10px;”]] [[input type=”hidden” name=”m” value=”1101451017273″]] [[input type=”hidden” name=”p” value=”oi”]] [[/form]] {/source} Subscribe via RSS Subscribe via RSS Submit a News Item Submit a News Item

February 8, 2010; NBC Bay Area | In Nonprofit Quarterly‘s coverage of the dubious missionary effort to spirit 33 Haitian children out of the country ostensibly to orphanages, we are reminded about how much of disaster relief and even ongoing aid and assistance in developing nations occurs through church-based missions.  In some cases, as this report from NBC notes, the missionaries mean well and they often deliver valuable services. But in some cases, the missionaries are naïve, ignorant, disrespectful of local traditions, and even abusive. Haiti has been a missionary hotspot for decades, with many small communities having several churches built by competing missionary groups. One expert said that there were some 1,700 long-term professional missionaries before the earthquake, but because of Haiti’s proximity to the U.S.—and the majority of the population’s belief in Voodoo—thousands of American missionaries go to Haiti for periods of weeks or months to evangelize, build churches, and provide services. The condition of Haiti’s children is a big issue for them. NBC says, without citation, that before the earthquake, 15 percent of Haitian children were orphaned or abandoned and 200,000 lived in institutions. UNICEF estimates that just under 40 percent of the Haitian population is under 14. The extreme poverty of the nation makes children vulnerable to child trafficking and other kinds of abuse (the NBC article notes another case where a missionary from Colorado working in a school for Haitian street children is under arrest for sexually abusing 18 boys). UNICEF’s Ann Veneman has expressed its concern about child trafficking and is “setting up safe centres where children can be registered, identified and eventually reunited with their families, receiving psycho-social support in the meantime.” Whether cloaked in humanitarianism or religion, those people who run roughshod over the Haitian people and particularly Haitian children should not be tolerated by American charitable or religious donors.—Rick Cohen