This post is derived from a 2015 blog on my personal website:
Is it possible to rebuild Haiti easily and efficiently? Can we be sure the money reaches it’s intended target? Yes. But unfortunately that did not happen in Haiti, where billions of dollars have disappeared.
At 5 pm on January 12, 2010, I turned on the TV as horrific images of the earthquake’s devastation in Haiti unfolded before my eyes. The magnitude 7.0 earthquake killed more than 160,000 people and displaced almost 1.5 million others.
I love Haiti. I was a Haitian artist for 17 years, living in the mountains and by the sea. And the people, with their rich cultural heritage inspired my artistic adventures. Thus I donated money to several organizations to aid the earthquake victims and to help with Haiti’s recovery.
Fast forward to April 2015. The HBO investigative reporting series VICE, exposes the blatant misuse of the $10 billion of aid earmarked for housing the earthquake victims. Only one cent of every dollar reached the people. Ninety three million dollars built only 2,600 homes. Chemonics, a for profit company contracted to do the work, built a world class, $18,000,000 soccer stadium and multi million dollar cultural center, but no housing or other improvements in Coracol, a village in the north. Coracol was not affected by the earthquake. The company spent millions building beautiful homes in a gated community for US AID employees, but almost no housing for the people who needed it.
As of 2015, five years after the earthquake, thousands of gentle Haitians are still living on the streets under plastic sheeting. They have no plumbing or easy access to clean water.
I know it’s possible to build clean affordable Haitian housing. I know I can build a sturdy two or three room cement block house with a porch in Haiti for under $5000.00. And, I know someone trustworthy who can get the job done efficiently.
I Skype Gladys Thomas, a trusted friend who heads an organization for Haitian children she created 30 years ago. She likes the idea, but is busy building schools in the mountains in SW Haiti. She suggests I work with some other organizations. But I want to work with Gladys because I know and trust her, so I let the idea percolate. In the meantime, I creat a 501 (c)(3) non profit, and prepare the groundwork for the project.
That was in 2015. Now, we have begun our project to build houses in the South of Haiti, A project with oversight. The housing recipients meet certain qualifying criteria. They actively participate in building their homes.
Would you like to make a difference and be part of the Haiti Community Project? Let me know if you would like to learn more, or be part of this exciting project by sending me a message at firstname.lastname@example.org.