Since a devastating earthquake shook Haiti more than two weeks ago, Grassroots International’s partners on the ground have been working to assess the situation and respond to the needs of the community – even as they themselves have suffered great losses. With help from hundreds of people who have donated in response to the crisis, Grassroots International has made three initial grants to three of our partners in Haiti. Although we are not a traditional first-responder or relief organization, we will continue to contact our partners and their allies, including other potential grantees to provide additional short-term and long-term support to these respected community-based Haitian-led organizations.
After a week of intermittent contact and consultations with our partners, we have been able to work with them to identity their needs and capacity to respond. A small delegation from the Via Campesina Caribbean, based in the Dominican Republic, offered additional information from person-to-person contact with their family farmer counterparts in Haiti. The first and second grants of $15,000 each have gone to the Peasant Movement of Papaye (MPP) and the Haitian Platform to Advocate for Alternative Development (PAPDA) to supply short term shelter, food and water for survivors of the disaster. The MPP’s training center in Papaye in the central Plateau was not directly affected by the quake and now serves as a refuge for people ho have fled the horror of Port-au-Prince. In addition the MPP is assisting local families who have received relatives who have fled the city, as well as supporting the local hospital in Hinche that has received a large number of patients transferred out of the capital city. PAPDA has worked with its member organization and some allies to create a community-controlled refuge and service center currently serving approximately 300 people in Poupleard, a neighborhood of Port-au-Prince. Community members and people sheltered at the center receive two meals a day, water and clothing, and free medical and mental health services. The services are being offered by a team of Haitian professionals and volunteers – doctors, nurses, psychologists and social workers. PAPDA and its allies plan to work together to organize similar community service centers in other areas, pending availability of more resources, as soon as possible. The third grant of $11,240 will support the Via Campesina Caribbean Regional Coordination Team in Haiti, providing water, food and fuel for members who have lost everything, and travel funds to ensure that members can return to their provincial homes outside of Port-au-Prince. The Via Campesina Caribbean is helping to coordinate short term and mid-term responses of their membership throughout the region. In addition funds will support acquisition of a generator and fuel to establish an alternative working space as the original office space was demolished. Everyone at Grassroots International is inspired by the resilience and courage of our partners in Haiti. Most have lost family and loved ones, homes and work places. Even so, they are pushing forward to offer much needed services to their people, and we at Grassroots International will continue to partner with them for the long term.
100% of contributions to the Earthquake Response Fund for Haiti will go toward supporting community-led Haitian organizations. Please contribute if you are able.