Friday Special: Haiti

To be honest, my heart is grieving as I think of, read and see what happened in Haiti. I have no doubt that by now, you’ve all been informed of the earthquake and the rising death toll of over 50,000, as of today.

Can something good come out of such a tragic event? The only thing that gives me hope is to see countries from all over the world put their grudges aside, and come together like one man to provide assistance to the island. Quoting the French newspaper Le Monde, Nicholas D. Kristof expressed it best: “After 9/11, the French newspaper Le Monde declared: We Are All Americans. And after yesterday’s earthquake: Today, we are all Haitians.”

Technology is put to good use: texting Haiti to 90 999 is donating $10 to the Red Cross. Despite the fact that they do not necessarily pay their own bill, the simplicity of the gesture even allows teenagers to spontaneously participate in the relief effort.

Brief summary of ways to help, with a focus on organizations already established in Haiti:

  1. http://yele.org/: I’m adding back Wyclef’s foundation here, since I was finally able to locate its website. Please, note that they work with several other local organizations in Haiti. Wyclef Jean is a multi-platinum, grammy-winning musician, singer and record producer. According to last reports he is currently in Haiti, and I read about him heping pull bodies out of the ruins. Texting “Yele” to 501 501 will add $5 to your cell phone’s bill, and will translate in a donation of the same amount to the relief efforts.
  2. Albert Schweitzer Hospital is located 40 miles NW of Port-au-Prince (epicenter of the earthquake). The hospital has been providing health care and hosting medical staff volunteers for the past 54 years. The staff is currently working around the clock to help the victims: http://www.hashaiti.org/
  3. World Food Program, provides ready-to-eat food to the victims: http://www.wfp.org/
  4. Partners in Health: http://www.pih.org/
  5. Doctors Without Borders. The organization has helped over 2,000 injured so far, and needs to expand its surgical capacity. http://doctorswithoutborders.org/
  6. World Vision. WV offers the possibility to sponsor a child through their organization. Here is an information sheet they provide about the island. For donation to the relief effort, click here.
  7. SOIL. “Sustainable Organic Integrated Livelihoods (SOIL) is a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting soil resources, empowering communities and transforming wastes into resources in Haiti.” Nicholas D. Kristof once highlighted their work in a video, while meeting two young Americans who volunteer there. for more information: http://www.oursoil.org/
  8. The Saint Luke Mission, in Haiti: The mission does much for children, providing for their education as well as health care. Here is general statement from their website: Poverty, ignorance, war, sickness, and hunger: These are ancient scourges that persist in modern times; robbing people of dignity by taking away the power they have over their own lives and dispelling hope. All of these afflictions cause untold suffering and humiliation among many throughout the world. Let’s come together and commit ourselves to fighting these threats for a better and more fulfilling life… one child at a time…” To learn more and donate: http://www.compassionweavers.com/
  9. IBBY (Internationatiol Board on Books for Young People), among other project, is dedicated to helping children in crisis in Haiti.
  10. I also wrote about them in an earlier post.

Last but not least, here’s a Haitian writer’s perspective on the situation. The following information is a courtesy SpeakEasy, one of the blogs showcased in Walls Street Journal. “Edwidge Danticat (note: pronounced Dahn-tee-kah), the recipient of a MacArthur “genius” grant and an Oprah’s Book Club author, is one of Haiti’s most acclaimed writers. (…) In this time of tragedy for Haiti, it’s worth noting that the country’s culture is far deeper than the bleak reports currently blanketing the news. (…) Danticat took the time today to recommend some books and music that people who are interested in Haitian history and arts should seek out in order to place the current disaster in a broader context.”

To read about Ms. Danticat’s reaction, as well as the books and music recommendation she was asked, for the whole article, click here.

Wishing you all a safe and fairly enjoyable weekend. Thank you for reading.

Nathalie

Edited 01/18/2010: Thanks to a link provided by author Olugbemisola on her Twitter account, which provides a resource for news and updates on her blog about the situation in Haiti; click on Mrs. Pilkington Knits.
Edited 01/20/2010 to add the Yéle foundation.
Update 01/23/2010: I’ll update the post as I receive links to add up to the list of ways to help. I thank Nicole Langan for telling me about Compassion Weavers!