Dear Elevate Community:
As you may know, we’ve had programs in Haiti since 2010 and thus have many friends and colleagues throughout the country. We’re proud of the thousands of dollars and hours that we contributed directly to supporting Haitian community organizations on the ground after the 2010 earthquake.
We are deeply saddened by the effects of Hurricane Matthew, which has left an estimated 1,000 dead thus far. Many of the Haitian friends and colleagues we have worked with over the years have been affected and we are doing our best to support them by donating and spreading the word about the most effective ways to help.
Many have asked us how to support Haitians affected by the hurricane. There is no perfect disaster response; that said, we have learned a lot since the earthquake in 2010. We have done our due diligence researching, asking Haitian friends and members of the international community that have done excellent work in Haiti who is doing the best work. Responses have varied, but the organizations listed below have either been recommended highly and/or are ones that we have worked with directly.
We are in “first response” phase. That means crisis mode. The most important thing at this point is to save as many lives as possible. The first “first responders” in any emergency are community members. They are also the ones that will stay after every other responder has left. We do not recommend volunteering at this time unless you have very specific medical training. What we do recommend is supporting local organizations as close to the ground as possible.
Elevate’s strategy during this time is to:
1) Support local community members and organizations. These have the existing social structures and trusted relationships in place to support their communities.
2) Continue to support the destigmatization of Haiti. The systems that have led to a lack of infrastructure in Haiti are many, but chief among them is the narrative of Haiti as a godforsaken place – it is anything but. Travel to Haiti to enjoy her beauty and culture, and support her businesses and people.
Thank you for your support.
Below please find organizations that are supporting disaster relief and recovery in the areas that we have worked in, and those that are most affected.
Medical Response in the south (most affected area):
Saint Boniface Foundation which runs the largest and best equipped (free care) hospital in southern Haiti is now coordinating all medical care for the southern peninsula. Build Health international (BHI) has been partnering with them for some time and prepared the hospital for the hurricane. Fortunately it sustained minimal damage and remained open. They are receiving all of the medical care referrals from throughout the south. BHI is clearing roads so patients and supplies can get through, trying to get water trucked from a stream and purified, repairing roofs and bridges, and will eventually handle infrastructure assessments for at least a dozen smaller clinics in the south which have been damaged, as well as the public hospital in Les Cayes. Donations for this effort should be sent to Saint Boniface Haiti Foundation, www.haitihealth.org.
Support in Ile A Vache:
Edem Foundation will focus on helping people put a roof back on their house. Sauny, the local manager, has identified 193 homes in the community of Kapok and they will need about 6000 metal roofing sheets (about 30 per home). The cost of the roofing sheet is $5 including transportation. Labor is about $40 per home and basic materials such as nails and some wood is an extra $10. On average, it will cost $200 to fix each home for a total of $38,600.
We have raised so far $15,000 to help accomplish our goal to put a roof on everyone’s home in this community: http://www.edem2.org/
Future Generations Haiti
To show their solidarity, people from Cite Soleil would like to go to Les Cayes and give their services in support of affected communities in areas where they have relevant skills: carpenters and welders and community health workers. We have about 25 vetted volunteers so far, and would need to arrange funds for transport, lodging, and materials.
Funds would not go to purchasing food, water, or other relief materials. It would go directly to rebuilding and community health materials (sheet metal, etc).
It’s important that people understand that this is a donation for community solidarity, not purely humanitarian action. The idea behind this is to deliver services with solidarity from other Haitians, and build long-term relationships. Donate at: http://www.future.org/Contribution
Haiti Development Institute:
Focused on the second and third waves of response to help rebuild local communities, HDI will look to fill the gaps once emergency groups have left, as long-term capacity building must be a priority. Our vision is a new Haiti built hand-in-hand with opportunity and justice for all, and we strive to achieve this vision through building sustainable communities by supporting local leaders, strengthening organizations, and connecting the nonprofit, philanthropic and social enterprise sectors, to achieve transformative systemic impact. Donate at: https://www.tbf.org/giving/make-a-gift/haiti-development-institute
All images courtesy of the Edem Foundation.