Wednesday, January 12, 2011

To Haiti, With Love 2011

Last year in February 2010, Liberated Muse members came together at the Potter's House, located in the Adams Morgan community in Washington, DC to perform and raise monies for to go towards rebuilding efforts in Haiti after the devastating earthquake that killed about one million people in the tiny island. The earthquake took place a year ago today.
We raised over $300 for that day and many of us created artworks in remembrance of the people of Haiti that we later sold or donated on our own to contribute to the efforts in Haiti. But, there is still a need for aid.
The Nonprofit Times writes:

"As the one-year anniversary of the quake approaches this month, charities rallying to rebuild the country should be moving into recovery mode. Instead, despite all of the money pouring in and aid organizations on the ground, the nation is gripped in a cholera outbreak. The deadly bacterial infection spreads through contact with feces-contaminated water, and runs rampant in unsanitary conditions.
The country dodged a bullet with Hurricane Tomas this past November not being as destructive as was originally predicted. However the lingering water from its flooding is an added danger in the cholera outbreak. Coupled with poor sanitation in the tent cities in Port-au-Prince, the infection has caused more than 2,000 deaths and sparked protests among frustrated locals.
Doctors Without Borders has been treating cholera in Africa for years, so when it was first found in Haiti this past October, Jennifer Tierney, development director, said the charity began treating all patients with symptoms as if they had the disease. An emergency response team of 75 international staff and 400 national staff was created specifically to deal with the outbreaks.

At presstime the organization had treated more than 29,000 patients for Cholera-related symptoms throughout Haiti, including 16,000 in the Artibonite region where it originated. The New York City-based charity had more than 1,000 members of its Haitian staff working solely on the outbreak.

"It is so unique to Haiti," Tierney said. "It has really panicked the population and put an additional strain on the work. There is the potential here for there to be a huge outbreak, and the water from the hurricane (Tomas) has exacerbated the problem."

The American Red Cross, headquartered in Washington D.C., launched a massive immunization campaign in the months prior to the outbreak, according to Julie Sell, ARC's Haiti delegation spokesperson. More than 900,000 people were immunized for a variety of diseases, and officials believe this helped to somewhat deter the outbreak from being worse. The cholera outbreak has just extended the organization's disaster response mode, Sell said. Of the $476 million raised for Haiti as of Sept. 30, only $183.5 million has been spent thus far.

"That is a large amount of money to be spent in nine months, especially in a country as poor as Haiti," she said. "In addition to addressing emergency needs, we also want to invest in programs that will make a lasting difference. Every time we have an emergency pop up like Tomas or cholera, it just extends the needs of emergency relief."
The organization is providing more than 660,000 gallons of clean water per day, and the need for such supplies will only be greater as the Cholera situation escalates.

I was doing a search on organizations that could benefit from aid and are actually on the ground doing valuable, quantifiable work towards helping those in need. I came across an article on the site Mother Jones and found this list compiled by Mac McLelland who is actually dispatched in Haiti and has seen these groups in action. Here are his suggestions with his own testimony following their name.
KOFAVIV (Commission of Women Victims for Victims) and FAVILEK (Women Victims Get Up Stand Up)
Founded and run by Haitian rape survivors, both of these organizations assist victims with medical, legal, and moral support, in addition to building a movement against sexual violence. Visit them here and (through an American partner) here, respectively.

Partners in Health
The group cofounded by American superdoctor Paul Farmer has been battling health care problems in Haiti since 1987, and now it's at the forefront of the cholera response. The J/P Haitian Relief Organization, Sean Penn's charity, is also teaming up with PIH to tackle the disease.

KONPAY (Working Together for Haiti)
Provides assistance and support to grassroots environmental, women’s, and human-rights groups. Since the quake, KONPAY has also fought to get Haitian voices included in foreign-run relief and reconstruction meetings.

Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti
In addition to providing legal support to Haitians and creating a force of Haitian human-rights lawyers and advocates with its partner, Bureau des Avocats Internationaux, Boston-based IJDH publishes extensive reports that keep a light on conditions in the displacement camps.

Somebody gave me a pair of this company's organic man-panties recently, so I can personally attest to their awesomeness. But more important, every pair you order from the Winter Lights collection gets a solar-powered lantern donated to a displaced woman or family in Haiti.
Do you have more suggestions to add? Have you been doing your own personal work towards aiding Haiti? Do you have a story to share about the impact of last year's earthquake on your family or friend circle? Share with us your story in today's forum.

Be An Active Member of Liberated Muse

We are looking forward to collaborating
with you in 2011. We will be calling for artists to perform, writers and
visual artists to contribute to upcoming online and print publications
and patrons to attend our events, which include a Spring season of
Running: AMOK, the return of the Capital Hip Hop Soul Fest and our
monthly benefit concert series. We are always looking for volunteers, marketing specialists, tech crew and other help as
well. Email us at for more information on how to get involved!

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