Thursday, December 23, 2010

Help Bring Hope to Haiti

A new school and orphanage is the goal of a 100% community-run effort to bring education to the children of Petionville, Haiti. A building, books, and other resources are needed. The school will serve hundreds of the village's poorest children.

The project is a partnership between OFPADHA (Organization of the Proud Patriots for Development of Haiti), a grassroots organization lead by Haitian community leaders, Hope of Haiti, a Mount Holyoke College student group, and Reader to Reader.

The Mount Holyoke College student group was founded by Haeinn Woo, a Korean-American student attending Mount Holyoke who was volunteering as a doula in a hospital in San Francisco de Marcoris, Dominican Republic when the devastating earthquake hit. Woo cancelled her trip back to the U.S. and headed to Haiti.

"My heart told me I should go where there are people I could help," says Haeinn. "The Dominican Defensa Civil offered me a ride and a friend donated $100 via Western Union. With that money I was able to stuff a big duffel bag with canned foods and medicine from a Dominican pharmacy."

In August, Haeinn returned to Haiti only to find the situation was desperate despite the hundreds of millions that had been pledged by the world community.

"Six months after the earthquake, the situation in Haiti didn't improve much since the earthquake. The international community pledged their aid to Haiti and Obama administration pledged $100 million to their reconstruction efforts. However, so far, only a fraction the aid money has reached the desperate in Haiti. People like you donated millions of dollars, but according to a Haitian source, less than half of these donations have actually reached their intended destination. And from my own observation of chaotic coordination of aid a week after the earthquake, such as donated food rotting in the airport storage while food riots were happening right outside the airport, there seems to be more than enough reasons to not just trust big aid organizations to be delivering our donations to the people who need it.

The big organizations seem to be hindered by inefficient bureaucracy and lack of workers on site. In contrast, OFPDH was established by the Haitian community itself and managed by trustworthy Haitian community leaders who know their own family and the community's needs best. Since these leaders are helping their own families, there is little worry for donations disappearing into the pockets of corrupted politicians. Supporting such organizations is the most helpful way to help Haiti."

Reader to Reader has begun fundraising to raise the $3,000 to buy land for the school and to purchase Creole-language books. We are also collecting school supplies, including pens, pencils, crayons, pencil sharpeners, and other arts & crafts supplies which will be brought to Haiti on January 5, 2011 by a team of five Mount Holyoke students who will be spending three weeks in Haiti working on the project.

As the U.S. partner in the project, Reader to Reader will be overseeing the financial management of the project and will work diligently to make sure every penny is spent effectively and appropriately.
You can help!

Donate online (please mention Haiti), or bring or mail funds or school supplies to Reader to Reader c/o Cadigan Center, 38 Woodside Ave,, Amherst, MA 01002.

For more information email

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