Seven months after January’s devastating earthquake in Haiti, community leaders in Gran Sous strive to continue their long-term initiatives. Since Port au Prince is where most food and fuel is purchased, the initial impact of the disaster caused drastic food shortages and huge increases in the cost of basic supplies.
The inflationary effects of the earthquake and the increased number of refugees arriving to the island have caused a serious strain on the local economy in La Gonâve.
Immediately after the earthquake our partners in Gran Sous, APDAG, soared into action, presenting their community with a comprehensive plan to meet their immediate needs. APDAG efficiently navigated a logistical nightmare in Haiti, identifying solutions to supply, ship, and distribute food. APDAG even surveyed nearby villages to assess structural damage to homes, quickly prioritizing a schedule for reconstruction. The decisive post-earthquake action taken by APDAG reinforces Roots of Development’s commitment to a grassroots approach to development. Local community organizers are able to respond to their community’s needs faster and more effectively than we can from a distance. Roots of Development will help provide the necessary funding to support the rebuilding efforts led by Haitians in their own community.
So where are we now?
As news coverage of Haiti has predictably waned, we continue to work on the long road toward recovery in Gran Sous. While fear and anxiety still remain with those who were directly affected by the earthquake, Roots of Development’s presence is a sign of our commitment to improving the quality of life in La Gonâve. The earthquake dealt a temporary setback to our work with APDAG, but together we have already replaced 5 homes of the 21 destroyed by the earthquake. Thanks to a private donor and students at Tolland Middle School in Connecticut, we currently have funding to rebuild two more homes. Work continues on the community building and tool depot (photo above), which we hope will be finished by early October . With your support, we can rebuild homes and give access to clean water, basic healthcare, decent housing, and steady employment, fulfilling many dreams of Gran Sous’ residents.
We need you to continue helping Gran Sous realize their dreams by staying up-to-date with our newsletters and spreading the word about our collaborative work. You can financially assist us by joining our $20.00 monthly donation campaign and by signing up to ride in the September 19, 2010, CT bike-a-thon. There are numerous other ways you can continue to help, whether organizing a fundraiser or fulfilling one of our current needs listed in this newsletter. In the past our supporters have come up with many creative ways to help us raise funds: Dinners, concerts, book readings, coffee house fundraisers, photo sales, walk-a-thons and bike-a-thons, flower and candy sales during the holidays, a “battle of the bands” event, and events in which donations can be made in lieu of presents such as birthdays and anniversaries.
Our experience in Haiti has been both gut-wrenching, but most of all inspiring. The support that poured in immediately after the January 11th earthquake was extremely important but, to continue our work we will need to mobilize everyone we can to institute long-term changes in Gran Sous and beyond. Please continue to show your support for successful development in Haiti. With Roots, a little support goes a long way.