4 years ago, Haiti experienced a devastating 7.0 earthquake that ravaged what is still the poorest country in the western hemisphere. While billions were pledged around the world to help the small island country left with hundreds of thousands in temporary shelters without access to food, water and medicine, what few realize is how little actually made it to the country.
Martha Mendoza and Trenton Daniel wrote a fascinating piece back in 2012 about the real lack of impact that aid to Haiti had in the months after the earthquake.
For one “less than 12 percent of the reconstruction money sent to Haiti after the earthquake has gone toward energy, shelter, ports or other infrastructure. At least a third, $329 million, went to projects that were awarded before the 2010 catastrophe and had little to do with the recovery — such as HIV/AIDS programs.
And this: “Of the $988 million spent so far, a quarter went toward debt relief to unburden the hemisphere’s poorest nation of repayments. But after Haiti’s loans were paid off, the government began borrowing again: $657 million so far, largely for oil imports rather than development projects.”
Of the nearly $9 billion pledged to Haiti after the earthquake, less than $1 billion had been spent in the two years after the disaster.
Now, 4 years later, there is still an incredible amount to do.
At Aid Still Required, we know that the challenges in Haiti are great. We also know that they are not insurmountable. Together, we can improve the lives of thousands of women, children and men in Haiti that, at times, may feel hopeless.
In the Haiti settlements the UN estimates that 90% of women are raped or sexually assaulted at some point in their lifetimes. Raising a family and being a productive member of your community is difficult enough without the pain and suffering experienced when one is attacked. ASR’s trauma relief programs are helping women to find peace and healing, allowing for long term community building and a stronger family structure.
After the earthquake, Haiti’s orphanages overflowed with children whose parents had died or could no longer take care of them. ASR’s OADENN program is providing mentorship, counseling, safe places for play, education and healthcare to over 100 children in Cap Haitien. These children will have the opportunity to become the leaders in their communities when they get older–they are being given a new chance at life they may not otherwise receive.
By partnering with Sirona Cares, ASR is launching the Jatropha Tree Program to give thousands of farmers and their families a new life while also improving the environment and creating long term financial development.
This is how we can help Haitians help themselves. The old way of charity–simply handing out food, water, medicine and shelter–is not the path toward long term redevelopment. We must provide the financial assistance to get well designed, effective programs off the ground and then we must train Haitians to run these programs on their own so that they can be the source of their own country’s future success.
Join with us and help to make the future of Haiti a bright one.
Visit Haiti Awareness Campaign 2014 landing page to learn more and donate. Do you think that you can’t make enough of an impact? “Whoever thinks they are too small to change the world has never been in bed with a mosquito.” Let’s come together and make real change for people who just need the opportunity for a better life. These are the people who will change the future of Haiti.