This holiday season CHILDREN OF HAITI is partnering with a local youth group in Haiti to raise $4300 to send 40 kids from Cap-Haitien, Haiti to school. The kids participating in the program are all members of a local kids organization in Cap-Haitien that has been supporting development in their community by volunteering their time for water, sanitation and hygiene projects. The local organization, UJDS (Union de Jeunes pou Developman Shada), is based in the community of Shada, a vibrant, but impoverished neighborhood on the outskirts of Haiti’s second largest city. This group has participated in a scholarship program for the past 4 years with the support of international partner organizations, including SOIL (www.oursoil.org), Vwa Ayiti (www.vwaayiti.org) and Children of Haiti (www.strangethingsmovie.com). This year, due to their focus on other projects, neither SOIL nor Vwa Ayiti were able to support the scholarship project and so we are asking for your help to ensure that these motivated students can stay in school.
Many of you have been touched by the stories of vulnerable children in Cap Haitien that were shared in our film. Our goal has always been to use the film as a tool for generating change for the youth of Cap Haitien. We hope that in the spirit of this giving season you will consider supporting this program. A donation of $100 will send one child to school for a year. Thank you for your support!
Please visit this link in order to view the campaign page: http://childrenofhaiti.causevox.com/
DONATIONS & GIFTS YOU WILL RECEIVE
$50 ( Limit of 30) Musical CD from Emeline Michel, The Queen of Haitian Song. http://www.emeline-michel.com/
$100 – CHILDREN OF HAITI DVD, signed by filmmaker. This version aired on PBS’s Independent Lens Program 2011.
$150 (Limit of 15) Musical CD from Daniel Bernard Roumain. Renowned Haitian-American violinist, composer and musician. http://www.dbrmusic.com/
$200 – 2 DVDs of CHILDREN OF HAITI, Plus 2 11×17 posters.
$250- (limit of 10) 4 DVDs of CHILDREN OF HAITI plus 1, 27×40 Full Color Glossy movie Poster.
Wednesday, January 12, 2011 BROOKLYN, NEW YORK—One year ago today we witnessed one of the greatest human tragedies in recent world history, the horrific earthquake and its ugly aftermath in Haiti. So many of us, myself included, have donated, organized, mobilized, and done whatever we can to provide relief and support to the people of this great Caribbean nation. I am personally proud of my team’s support for Edeyo (www.edeyo.org), an amazing school and community outpost on the outskirts of Port-au-Prince that caters to 300 or so children ages 3-14. Indeed, our recent toys and supplies drive brought immeasurable relief for Edeyo. And I will continue to support this and other organizations that are really servicing the communities most in need in Haiti. But one year later, and in spite of some incremental progress, here and there, much remains undone. Some estimates say nearly a million people are living in tents. Basic necessities are woefully missing. People are displaced, or missing, and countless children are without parents. The rape of women and girls is rampant, and trauma in every form is very real. And many individuals and bogus organizations have come to view Haiti and its people as a cash cow for the sake of profit only.
For sure, I urge everyone to please think twice, and to do thorough research before donating anything further to an organization that claims to be supporting the rebuilding of Haiti (including organizations that may have the support of very prominent but unsuspecting individuals and celebrities). Know where your money or supplies are going, and seek proof that those items are actually being used for the people, not for personal gain. So on this day not only should we honor, salute, and remember the victims of the Haiti earthquake, and those who’ve died since for related reasons, including the cholera outbreak, but let us, the world over, renew our commitment to ensuring the nation of Haiti receives the pledged donations, resources, and assistance it requires to recover, heal, and move forward with its re-development, with its future. I am so clear that Haitians are a mighty and resilient people who have experienced much oppression and challenges in their 200-year history. But I too am doubly clear that Haiti’s best days are ahead, because we who truly care will help to make it so, and because the people of Haiti will make it so.
In a recent telephone conversation I had with Regine Zamor (see http://www.bagaydwol.wordpress.com and http://www.strangethingsmovie.com), a brilliant Haitian-American blogger, community organizer, and filmmaker, who literally moved to Haiti just two days after the earthquake last year, she reminded me that Americans, and the entire global community, should not judge Haiti. And that we should understand Haiti must be rebuilt by Haitian standards, and no one else’s. I agree with Ms. Zamor 100 percent. In the midst of the nonstop chatter about government corruption and the numerous accounts of violence in Haiti, we’ve got to make sure that we listen to the voices of leaders like Regine Zamor, people who are actually there, on the ground daily, doing the work for the people. For it is in this spirit that Haiti will be born again, that the lives lost and sacrificed will not be vain. KEVIN POWELL Activist, Writer, Co-founder, BK Nation http://www.kevinpowell.net
Its been a while since I have talked about the children and tonight I am making time out to discuss a bit about the situation and the documentary film Children of Haiti, which was formerly called Strange Things.
The documentary will premier for the first time on television in the United States at 10pm on PBS. The past couple of years of work have led to one particular question “when am i going to see the film”? Alexandria Hammond, Director, and I are proud to finally be able to answer. Whether you know us or not, whether you know about the depth of our commitment to Haiti and our work on behalf of Haitian children, or how much love and how organic the process of this film has been- this is the time to watch. Our small team of three people, which includes Eric Lahey, have finally reached a place where we have not pushed but instead the universe has offered a space for us to share this powerful piece of work at a time when the Children of Haiti matter the most.
When you see the children telling their stories, traveling through their city, and taking you on the journey of their lives over the course of several years there is one thing to keep in mind: why did they get there and how?
Much of the work that I have dedicated my time to with Richard Morse and the villagers of Bar Gormand answers that question. The issues surrounding unaccompanied/orphaned children in Haiti have more to do with economics and education than anything else. At the root of all of these children are their families and whether the families give them to others in the cities for a better life or the children have to pave their own way by taking to the streets themselves, what is of utmost importance is the fact that their support system is weakened and cannot sustain them. When you see pictures of the farmers and the villagers it is for the children, when you see us trying to unblock a river so that farmers can grow their crops and increase their production it is for their children and their community. When you see us providing workshops and being careful with the pace of the work so that it remains community developed it is for the future of the development of the community by the community and by the future community leaders who are the children.
We are excited to share this news with you and as always we have to thank RAM, Emeline Michel and DBR for believing in this work and lending us their energy through music to complement the small voices that many never get a chance to hear.
This special screening includes updates post earthquake with the children and also with several officials from the government, UNICEF, and children recently unaccompanied and orphaned by the earthquake. We’re here to tell thier story and to keep Haiti relevant by facilitating the voice of the children, sharing it with the world, and promoting local organizations that focus on community development and the reintegration of children back to their families and communities. As much as anyone helps it is important to note that if the children cannot go home, where will they go and who will they be? What families will give their children up next?
We’re here for the long run and are very excited to share the beginning of a life long journey with you on January 11th at 10pm on PBS.
Fore more information please visit the Independent Lens website by clicking here.
Much Love and Light to you all!
Just a quick update to all of our supporters out there. Many thanks to the friends and family and support that I’ve received encouraging the community work that I’ve been fortunate to share in en Haiti. Richard Morse and I have are lucky to be Gemini’s because sometimes I don’t know how we continue to manage with all of the strides we have made. As organic as the film Strange Things was during the years worth of work, a similar vibe has made its presence with Royal Palm, Vwa Pep La (voice of the people). Richard Morse came up with the name, which I fully supported, due to the fact that palm trees continue to stand; despite storms, earthquakes and other environmental disasters. The palm tree stands strong, just as the voice of the people do.
I call Richard new business development and myself the program person. Richard has been amazing at keeping Haiti relevant for many years and I am blessed to be able to work alongside such a powerhouse. A few weeks ago (or maybe a month ago) Richard introduced me to Ben, a farmer from the US who spoke Kreyol and had done some work in a farming community in the South. Ben is now working in the DR, on similar terrain as Bas Gormand, and was very happy to visit the community with us. We have been searching for a specialist, someone who would be able to consult, train the farmers, and help them to get towards their goals.
After being delayed due to manifestations, car breakdowns and all the other fun stuff that happen out here Ben and I finally paid a visit to the village to conduct an assessment with Mont Perus. Mont Perus has been our coordinator and has been our volunteer point person in Bas Gormand outside of the committee and the community.
Here are a few photos from our three hour walk and committee meeting with captions. I am grateful to share in this journey with you and look forward to your support towards community development. Ayibobo!
I look forward to sharing the next updates from our visit to the water source this Sunday. Much love and light to mother earth and all of her children during these last few weeks of 2010. It has indeed been a journey and its certainly not over yet.
By SASHA KRAMER
Wednesday morning, the day after the election results were announced, and the streets of Port au Prince are covered in a blanket of tire smoke. From Delmas 33 the sounds of gunshots and tear gas canisters ring through the air every few moments and on every street corner loud political discussions echo through the rubble which has been arranged to form road blocks. On the main streets, dumpsters have been overturned and converted into roadblocks. Public transportation has slowed to a standstill and businesses are shuttered.
Though the source of the frustration is clear and the anger is justified, this political unrest has serious implications for the current public health crisis that Haiti is facing, as a cholera epidemic ravages the cities and countryside. Over 1 million people in Port au Prince’s sprawling IDP camps are completely dependent on trucked water and clean sanitation facilities to protect them against cholera, which is transmitted through water contaminated with infected feces. The services provided by medical facilities and public health employees are critical for containing the epidemic through treating the sick, burying the dead and decontaminating infected areas.
Imagine the implications of several days without sanitation services in Port au Prince. An example, in downtown Port au Prince and Petionville the camps of Place Boyer, Place Saint Pierre and Champs Mars (home to over 15,000 people) rely on approximately 450 portable toilets for sanitation. These toilets are cleaned and emptied daily by a private company. With a small holding capacity and extremely heavy usage, many of these toilets will fill in 1-2 days if not emptied. Two days without desludging and the toilets of Champs Mars could be overflowing with over 5000 pounds of poop per day. Also, recent reports indicate that in downtown Port au Prince portable toilets are being overturned and used as roadblocks, some spilling their contents into the streets where tens of thousands of people have gathered to express their discontent with the CEP and the UN troops.
In the most densely populated camps the only source of treated water is brought in daily by trucks. This is the water that people use to clean, cook and often drink. Several days without treated water and people will be forced to drink from unsafe sources, seriously increasing their exposure to cholera. What happens when the carefully placed hand-washing facilities run dry and the bladders are deflated?
The other major risk is the lack of access to medical facilities and morgue services. Though many of the cholera treatment centers have managed to stay open, the long journey to them is blighted by the disruption on the roads. Those who do fall ill in the coming days may face a difficult decision about whether to travel to the hospital or remain at home, and for serious cases this could significantly increase the mortality rate (as was the case during the unrest in Cap Haitien several weeks ago when the mortality rate rose to the highest in the country). And what if people do die in their homes, as they have been daily for the past month? Who will come to collect the body? Will the men in the orange shirts arrive with their chlorine sprayers or are they too in the streets demonstrating against an unjust electoral process?
So many questions, so many potential risks. It is heartbreaking that the situation had to come to this; that a lack of honesty and humility on the part of the UN regarding the cholera outbreak could lead to an escalation of frustration and anger during such a precarious moment in Haiti’s history; that a corrupt electoral council could set the stage for unfair elections built on exclusionary policies when the country is still reeling from the earthquake and cholera; and that millions of dollars could be wasted on farcical elections at a time when over 1 million people are still homeless.
This situation was avoidable and now it is untenable. It is unfair to ask those with a legitimate grievance to go home and accept the hand that has been dealt them, and it is terrifying to imagine a country blocked by burning tires and pent up frustrations where basic rights such as water, sanitation and medical care become increasingly scarce. And all of this in the time of cholera.
Sasha Kramer, Ph.D. is an ecologist and human rights advocate and co-founder of Sustainable Organic Integrated Livelihoods (SOIL). She is an Adjunct Professor of International Studies at the University of Miami. She can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Other Links and other articles:
From KOFAVIV women: http://fanmpale.blogspot.com/2010/12/sitiyasyon-nou-vin-pi-grav.html?spref=fb
Manigat’s Speech: http://www.box.net/shared/8yb6majq36
Preval’s speech yesterday: http://www.box.net/shared/mgos395t40
Looking for Haiti news from on the ground? Check out the following links:
JOURNALIST ETANT GUEVERA VIDEOS: http://www.youtube.com/user/Gaetantguevara
MARTELLY’S SPEECH TODAY: http://www.box.net/shared/y5f5ogamqc
FLICKR PHOTOS FROM ETANT G: http://www.flickr.com/photos/gaetantguevara/sets/72157625430318349/
Much of what I have been getting in terms of information and photos has been through twitter and facebook as well. If you’d like to follow me on twitter you can find me under regineparicia. As usual ramhaiti is also a good source for truth as well.