Three years have passed since a fateful day on a Caribbean island, in 2010. Three years since the earthquake that shook Haiti to the very depths of its core, leaving a wake of dust and rubble, of sadness, and poverty. The truth though, is that the story of Haiti had already been written. Although the earthquake shook this country, the soul of the country, the heart of the people, the resilience of a nation stood strong.
Rebuilding Haiti – The People
Efforts to rebuild Haiti started immediately, and have continued in the three years since the quake, thanks to foundations like the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund, individuals like Willa Shalit, and relief organizations like J/P HRO that recognized the need to give back in sustainable ways. But even more, efforts to rebuild Haiti came from the Haitians themselves.
Individuals whose smile makes you forget anything that is not beautiful.
Individuals whose creativity and spirit awaken parts of you that had lied dormant for years.
Individuals whose hands bring to life recycled goods so skillfully that you dream of displaying these masterpieces in your home.
Individuals whose mentoring and professionalism foster collaboration and entrepreneurship worthy of an ivy league MBA.
Three years later, it would be easy to forget what happened on January 12th to this little island. Except that as Jeannette Kaplun writes, we cannot forget Haiti. We cannot stop fostering self sufficiency in artisans by engaging in ethical fashion.
What is being done to rebuild Haiti?
So much. And yet, so much more needs to be done.
J/P Haitian Relief Organization
On the ground from the beginning, he J/P Haitian Relief Organization (J/P HRO) camp in Petionville, works to build capacity in the members of the community. This organization works towards one goa, and one goal only. Returning residents to their neighborhoods and community with skills, with education, with health, and with the knowledge that they are part of an interdependent community. This is a place where lives are being changed. Every day. Like the lives of the artisans that make up Hands Together Cooperative that works with Maiden Nation. Or the lives of young adults like Elicard Jean, a 21 year old singer, who volunteers at Kay Kominote, a community center that helps kids learn and grow.
Heart of Haiti
Heart of Hait is a trade not aid program created by the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund in partnership with Macy’s to work with local artisans to develop business and entrepreneurial skills. The work of the artisans is stunning, but more than that, it tells the story of pride as the artisans become more self sufficient. (In fact, Macy’s is having a sale RIGHT NOW on many of the Macy’s Heart of Haiti line).
GAVI Alliance and Shot@Life
The GAVI Alliance has been working to help children in Haiti receive vaccines on a nationwide campaign that has as of last spring, vaccinated 200,000 children so that they too can have a shot at life. Shot@Life, part of the UNFoundation, started to work towards preventing more deaths from measles, rubella, diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough from the large cities of Port au Prince to the other smaller areas of the country and is now leading the charge to vaccinate children against more preventable, yet deadly diseases like diarrhea and pneumonia.
Lucky to travel to Haiti last year as part of a group that called itself, Bloggers4Haiti, this Caribbean island country tells a story of overcoming adversity and of the resiliency of its people to never question if Haiti could be rebuilt.
Is there more to do? Yes. Will it happen. Yes. Rebuilding Haiti, one step at a time, sustainably, and by building capacity in the hearts and hands that make Haiti truly magical.