I know I promised to post something "good" next in my last post. Frankly, I am still really struggling. This last trip to Haiti really kicked me. Poverty and tragedy in Haiti are growing exponentially worse. I encountered more hurt and hungry people this trip than any other trip. What is even more frustrating is the appearance of so many groups using Haiti's woes for their own self advancement.
It is really frustrating to see a lot of the large charities that are so well funded, do so little to really help in the country. It seems they focus more on fund raising than really using those funds well. For example, it sounds so good to send your money to groups saying they are building houses - When in reality, no significant housing is being built as the land ownership is in dispute due to the loss of records in the earthquake.
I get updates from one group that supports a very good hospital in North Haiti. I was shocked to hear that their support is several thousand dollars a day. While said hospital is a very good hospital, it is also one of the most expensive hospitals in the country for Haitians to access. I know of two families that have had to pull their children out of school in order to pay the fees.
Please, please support sustainable activities in Haiti. Just throwing money at a problem is not a long term solution. The way I view A Healthier Haiti's activities is that if we can't minimize our involvement to the role of assisting with oversight in five years, we have failed. Far too may of the NGO's in Haiti have been there for twenty or more years. They are the ones you see giving food away from the backs of trucks from time to time, or putting up an orphanage here and there. I'm not sure how much these activities really helps Haiti. If anything, they seem to foster greater dependence. A lot of times it seems their own existence is more of their objective than really helping the country.
Haiti desperately needs your help. I propose the best way that you can help is to find an organization that is working to support and grow existing Haitian run organizations, with the stated objective of sustainability. These will be grassroots organizations, not ones seeking millions of dollars or highlighted in news and fund raising stories. Having spent most of this year in Haiti, I can attest that these are the groups really making a difference in the country.
If you are seeking a specific area to support, whether it be education, foster care, nutrition, micro loans, or health care, please shoot me an email. I would be glad to tell you about groups doing really good work in each of these areas.
Peace and grace,