Not just an aspiration: Hope and Change for Haiti

The decision to form the nonprofit organization Hope and Change for Haiti came after a long and depressing observation on how thousands of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that have operated in Haiti with millions of dollars, have failed to bring viable and concrete change to people in need. Following the massive earthquake that devastated the country on January 12, 2010, and more recently Hurricane Mathew, that left the southern region of the country with thousands of homeless and loss of farms and livestock, Haiti has seen the number of NGOs increase from 3,000 to almost 14,000 while the population has experienced more hardships than ever before. In 2010, $11 billion were pledged on behalf of Haiti. Later that money was given to international nonprofit organizations in the hope they will contribute to the effort of rebuilding the country post-earthquake. Haiti has become the republic of International NGOs. Indeed, despite those billion dollars in the hands of those NGOs, the majority of the population lives in absurd poverty, hunger, homelessness with no access to drinking water. The real question we cannot stop asking is where did all the money go? One answer is that those NGOs do not know the real need of the Haitian people.

The real question we cannot stop asking is: where does all the money go?

One answer we can have among tens of others is that those NGOs do not know the real need of the Haitian people. They come with made-up solutions and want to implement them in a context they do not understand. In addition, Haiti represents a real business for them. For instance, the Red Cross has split into various branches such as International Red Cross, American Red Cross, Canadian Red Cross, French Red Cross, Swiss Red Cross, Belgium Red Cross… while there is a local (Haitian) Red Cross that operates nationwide with very limited resources.

The international NGOs have failed in Haiti and have been unable to provide a decent humanitarian assistance to the population. The money collected on behalf of Haiti has been wrongfully used in temporary and superficial projects or on management. Indeed, 70 percent of the international NGOs funds are used in salaries for expatriates’ employees that cost 10 to 15 times more than local employees. Ignoring how to operate in a local context, they have desperately tried to apply occidental solutions in a complex country with nearly 52 percent of its population who cannot read and write, 65 percent living with no electricity, and an absence of law enforcement in the municipalities outside the big cities. Unfortunately, the donors, the individuals with big hearts who wish to see change and progress in Haiti have continued to financially support and trust international NGOs thinking that they have been doing a great job in bringing change to the Haitian people. Humanitarian groups certainly go to Haiti with good intentions and the determination to provide great assistance to the people, but they fail to conduct field studies to identify real needs and real issues faced by the population.

We have the idea to do things differently and to bring real and sustainable change in the life of some of our fellows. Hope and Change for Haiti (HCH) is a nonprofit organization born in Cranston, Rhode Island. Thus, a Haitian family, the Germains in Cranston, have been thinking for a long time of a better way to make a difference and to give back to their country. They are joined by some other Haitians along with some American friends who are aware and sensitive to Haitian issues. Our mission is to create sustainable development in Haiti to improve, with dignity, the quality of life of the people. HCH works jointly with the most impoverished individuals in the community and with the natural disasters’ victims to help them recover from their loss through sustainable projects”.

To reach our goal, we need financial support. HCH looks for combined resources that may include donations, funds, training, exchange, research and support services to help enhance the cohesiveness and well-being of the people in the Municipality of Paillant (area located in the southern region of the country).

One of the projects HCH has currently embarked is the Home for Haiti which consists of building permanent houses anti-earthquake and hurricane- resistant in some small villages located in the Municipality of Paillant. A cistern of 15,000 gallons of water will be built alongside the new houses. That will help to drain water from the house roof to the cistern so the families can have access to clean water during the dry season that goes (from the end of November to mid-April every year). We welcome monetary and technical support to help us continue with this project. To learn more about the work of the organization or to make a donation visit HCH website.

 

Dr. Norly Germain

Dr. Norly Germain, an adjunct professor at Johnson & Wales University and the University of Rhode Island, co- founder and executive director of Hope and Change for Haiti, said “Haiti cannot continue to be the republic of NGOs. International NGOs should merge with local organizations that pursue the same objectives instead of splitting into multi ineffective branches. There are too many doctors operate on the same patient at the same time. That is the reason why the patient is dying. It is important to have the patient be taken care of by the right doctor. What makes Hope and Change for Haiti different from the other nonprofit organization is the transparency and honesty, the fact that Haitians participate actively in the decision-making for Haiti, and the population is involved 100 percent in the action for change in their community

“Helping others is helping ourselves and our community. We can increase our happiness by making other people happy”.

Help HCH reaches its goal which consists of building anti-earthquake and hurricane-resistance permanent houses for the natural disaster victims in Paillant and to provide clean drinking water to the population. Hope and Change for Haiti works with the community, for the community. Please consider contributing to the effort of putting a safe roof over the heads of those devastated by seasonal hurricanes. Your contribution will make a great difference. It will be spent dollar for dollar for materials only. To get in touch with HCH board members, email them at hnc4haiti@gmail.com.

We all can help to make a difference in Haiti.

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