All too often people see volunteering in Haiti as something that is too dangerous to do. While there are risks, the same is true about volunteering anywhere. From inner city projects, to after disaster relief and recovery efforts, to National Park trail building, nothing is without risks. Be careful, err on the side of safety, and have contingency plans if something goes wrong, but “not volunteering” is not my choice. So we went even though many volunteers shied away and even though the volunteer organization I run was not allowed (per order of our University President) to go because of the “risks”.
In the four years since the earthquake many of the NGOs have left the country or dramatically scaled back operations which is unfortunate as there is much work to do. The six of us who went on the trip worked with many Haitian friends and the message that each said repeatedly was that they wanted to help build a better Haiti. My day job is a finance professor and when in Leogane I taught three 2 hour classes on Economics and Finance. The audience was about 50 business people and leaders from Leogane and to a person, the message was the same. We must team up with the international community to build a better Haiti that is not based on charity alone, but a blend of charity, cooperation, and investment.
The “How” of this is more challenging. Haiti has been largely left behind for decades and is one of the poorest countries economically in the world. But that is past. It is a view that we must defeat. There is no such thing as “natural poverty” (indeed I was asked this during one of my classes and it was the closest to angry I got the entire time in the country!) In country after country we have seen the abject poverty tossed aside and the standard of living rise. We can and will see the same in Haiti.
While we worked on school roofs and distributed thousands of books to over 20 schools in the Leogane area we listened to what we could do. Handouts have not worked. Handouts are temporary and needed, but as a long term plan, they are not the answer. So we thought and listened more. One thing that continually was mentioned was how many good things were happening but the world community never heard about them. So it was in these “brainstorming” sessions where the idea for this website was hatched. Its purpose is to report good news from Haiti.
Google searches of Haiti News or Volunteering in Haiti can not continue to be filled with bad news.
Rarely do we hear or see the many good things that are happening in Haiti. So we decided to change that by reporting some of the good things that are happening in Haiti. It will be a long slow process, but one we hope leads to more visits to Haiti, more investment in Haiti, and a more positive view of the great nation of Haiti.
We will be having “reporters” in many areas of Haiti, but will also depend on you to share news with us. Probably the best way is on FB or Twitter. So please like or page on FB and follow us on Twitter. And let us know when you hear good news! For instance, did you know that two tablet manufacturers are now setting up manufacturing in Haiti? That is Good News from Haiti!
We will sell advertising with the money going back to Haiti to pay a small fee for contributed articles and to help fund HaitiScholarships and with luck to help BonaResponds continue their shipments of books to schools. (So far they have shipped about 90 pallets!)