Thanks to those of you who have expressed concern for Haiti and offered to help! It is indeed heart-wrenching to see a country so ill-equipped to deal with natural disasters get hammered by one after another after another. Why can’t Haiti catch a break? Death is such a frequent and cruel thief of Haitians of all ages that they are tempted to become accustomed to it. Yet human life is not as cheap as it seems in Haiti – especially to the families of the nearly 1000 who perished under Hurricane Matthew’s wrath. Thank God the Haitian people are resilient.
How our friends in Haiti fared:
There was no loss of life among the entrepreneurs we work with in Leogane, nor among the broader Partners Worldwide network in Haiti. There was significant flooding and damage to homes and businesses in Leogane which lies east of Matthew’s path. Eighty percent of all structures were destroyed in the 42,000 person city of Jérémie, and towns of Port Salut and Les Cayes took near direct hits. Satellite damage maps in this New York Times article give an objective sense of the level of destruction in those three cities.
What kind of help is needed?
Given the growing awareness of the unintended consequences of our good intentions, many are asking the right question: “How can I help without hurting?” The answer involves recognizing the difference between relief and development, and discerning when to undertake each. The biggest dependence issues arise when emergency gifts are given indefinitely instead of contributing to a community’s own capacity to sustain themselves. This cripples initiative and the dignity of creating solutions.
The right WHEN:
Clearly, in the wake of Matthew’s devastation, many Haitians DO need immediate gifts of food, water, hygiene products, and shelter to survive. The key is to do this for only a limited time, then switch gears to helping them help themselves. Aid should last weeks; rebuilding takes months; and development can span years with locals taking increasingly more leadership over the process. Please contribute financially alongside us. Our response is three-tiered: gifts of life-sustaining supplies to those who lost everything, then repairs to the buildings and equipment of businesses whose jobs fuel the economy, and finally toward building the capacity of businesses to grow and create new jobs (what we do best).
The right HOW:
Even emergency relief can be given in a way that builds up rather than tears down indigenous businesses. Here’s how: instead of lugging shoes, supplies and food from the US – and bearing the accompanying burdens of high customs taxes and logistical nightmares, the best approach is to send cash so that emergency supplies can be purchased in-country. We have connections to reliable Haiti-based suppliers of water, pasta, peanut butter, baby food, diapers, hygiene supplies, and tarps which are desperately needed NOW. I could tell you stories of Haitian tailors, farmers, doctors, shoemakers, and solar panel manufacturers whose businesses were decimated by the free goods we Americans gave after the 2010 earthquake. While those goods gave a short-term boost to the recipients and a good feeling to the donors, it further weakened Haiti by destroying the jobs that sustain people over the long haul. So please think long-term even as you act to meet short-term needs.
Giving in relationship:
The other important element in “how” to give is in the context of real relationships. We have six-year-long relationships with some who are in need, and our partners in Haiti have even more intimate knowledge of those suffering, their most pressing needs, and the best ways to meet them. This ensures funds won’t be wasted or misused, and that they will be distributed with compassion and prayer. Hand-in-hand solidarity diminishes the isolation and hopelessness which impales the souls of the poor. As your ambassador, I will be personally traveling to Haiti soon to embrace our friends and show them we care.
Your donations will be matched!
If you choose to give to the Creating Jobs Inc “Haiti Hurricane Fund,” every dollar will go directly to serving the suffering, including entrepreneurs who can sustain those communities far into the future. In fact, I’ll match your gifts through my business. Oddly, I’m in the confusing position of benefiting from a hurricane that devastated part of the Haiti I’ve grown to love. Yes, we had a minor power outage and many of my fellow Central Floridians suffered much more, but my brother and I’s tree service (www.treeworknow.com) is obviously in high demand after the storm passed through part of our normal service area (Daytona Beach). Instead of feeling guilty about this, I see it as a providential connection. As the apostle wrote: “your abundance at the present time should supply their need.” In that spirit of fellowship, we will match your donations as another way our business can be a “force for global good” (the vision of Creating Jobs Inc), practicing what we mentor other entrepreneurs to embody.
Donate to Haiti Now
Please click above or here to give a tax-deductible donation to the “Haiti Hurricane Fund.”
If you prefer to send in a donation, mail your check to:
Creating Jobs Inc
136 S. Sheridan Ave
DeLand FL 32720
Please share this to help others express their concern for Haiti!
Evan L. Keller
Founder & Executive Director
This newsletter highlights one of our four core values…
Solidarity with the Poor:
Guided by the Bible, we partner with people of all faiths to create opportunity for the vulnerable.