From this moment on, it will never be too late to help the citizens of Haiti. The physical and psychological devastation to the Haitian people, and the many reparations to Haiti’s infrastructure will take years and years to mend. We have assembled ten comprehensive activities we believe will have the most prominent positive impact for the country of Haiti.
1. Volunteer Opportunities for Disaster Relief
People interested in volunteering to help the Haitian people should consider this advice from the Center for International Disaster Information before calling agencies to request actually traveling to Haiti to donate your time:
“Volunteers without prior disaster relief experience are generally not selected for relief assignments. Candidates with the greatest chance of being selected have fluency in the language of the disaster-stricken area, prior disaster relief experience, and expertise in technical fields such as medicine, communications logistics, water/sanitation engineering. In many cases, these professionals are already available in-country. Most agencies will require at least ten years of experience, as well as several years of experience working overseas. It is not unusual to request that volunteers make a commitment to spend at least three months working on a particular disaster. Most offers of another body to drive trucks, set up tents, and feed children are not accepted. Keep in mind that once a relief agency accepts a volunteer, they are responsible for the volunteer’s well-being -i.e., food, shelter, health and security. Resources are strained during a disaster, and another person without the necessary technical skills and experience can often be a considerable burden to an ongoing relief effort.”
2. Insist Haitian Debt Be Canceled
Haiti currently owes over $891 million in debt to the International Monetary Fund and other international bodies. IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn has shamelessly proposed loaning Haiti 100 million dollars to rebuilt Haiti as was done with the “Marshall Plan” in Europe after World War II. Haiti doesn’t need another loan. Haiti should be excused from the debt they already struggle to repay. Call, write, or email the head of the IMF Dominique Strauss-Kahn to demand that the IMF cancel Haiti’s debt immediately. Any and all money needed to rebuild Haiti should be donated, not loaned. For IMF Contact information click here.
3. Pressure Haitian Officials
Pressure must be put on Haitian officials to ensure that the millions of dollars donated actually get to the Haitian people. Haitian leaders are notoriously corrupt and must be held accountable. Call, write or email your representatives to ensure that the citizens of Haiti get every single dollar pledged not only for food, but to rebuild their homes and the country’s infrastructure. For contact information click here.
4. Create a Permanent Signature In Your Email
Create a signature boiler plate at the bottom of all your emails that will be automatically transmitted with every email you send. If you’re using Hotmail or Yahoo mail, go to “Options/Signature”. Be creative. You can include contact information for donations or just a short note to serve as a reminder for people to assist Haiti.
5. Blog For Haiti
If you write for your own blog or a blog owned by someone else, considering writing an informative piece on Haitian history, Haitian culture, or any Haitian topic of interest you’re drawn to related to Haiti. Reading about Haiti personalizes the people of Haiti. The televised coverage of the Haitin tragedy tells us nothing about who the people of Haiti really are.
6. Never Assume the U.S. Government or any Relief Agency Will Transport Unsolicited Relief Items Free of Charge
It is important to make arrangements for the transportation before collecting any kind of material donations. Never assume that the government or any relief agency will transport donations free of charge (or even for a fee). In the majority of cases, the collecting agency will be responsible for paying commercial rates for the transportation and warehousing of items gathered. (excerpts from Managing Resource Coordination for Sudden-Onset Foreign Disasters: A Case Study Focusing on the United States’ Response to Hurricane Gilbert/Jamaica by David Callahan. VITA. 1989.)
7. Submit Your Ideas
You may have a creative solution to one of the many problems the Haitian people are confronted with but aren’t sure who to contact. The Center for International Disaster Information is interested in your ideas. Tweet Arturo A. Valenzuela with your thoughts on how they can help the citizens of Haiti: @WHAAsstSecty
8. ebay for Haiti
So many of us have been adversely effected by the economy that any excess cash is used to survive and pay bills. But if you’ve ever considered auctioning off items on ebay for extra cash, now is a goof time to rummage through household items and sell them them on ebay. With the extra cash you earn, you can donate a portion of your earnings to the organizations listed below.
Little is said about help in the form of prayer. The power of prayer cannot be understated. You don’t have to be religious to pray. You can think of prayer as positive group energy directed at, and for the Haitian people in what Carl Jung referred to as the Collective Unconscious. Many believe — as I do –that all living things are interconnected. Visualize a positive outcome for Haiti and the Haitian people. Sixty seconds of a thought stream blessing the Haitian people cannot hurt.
10. When Donating Cash is Best
As Interaction.org points out, “the best way to help is to donate financially to organizations responding to a disaster. Cash allows relief professionals to procure exactly what is needed in a disaster situation and ensure that donations are culturally, dietary, and environmentally appropriate. Cash donations do not use up other scarce resources, such as transportation, staff time or warehouse space. As needed, cash can also be transferred quickly to where needed, helping bolster the economy of the disaster-stricken region.”
We really need for all the organizations that are trying to help to speak to each other so that they can maximize their efforts to be truly effective in helping.
Want to help, below are links to reputable organizations that are involved in helping. The American Red Cross www.redcross.org
Text “Haiti” to 90999 to donate $10 (billed to your phone)
The United Nations World Food Program www.wfp.org
The Salvation Army www.salvationarmyusa.org
Action Against Hunger www.actionagainsthunger.org
Project HOPE www.projecthope.org
Partners in Health www.pih.org
January 21st, 2010