Since I’ve been back from Haiti I’ve been asked over and over again by friends and family, “What is the best way we can help the people of Haiti?”
This is an excellent question without just one answer. I think this question reflects both the generous nature of Americans, but also our concern that our giving really does result in being helpful.
There were many times when I, and the other women (pictured below) who had also gone to Haiti to volunteer with MFH, wondered if our being in Haiti was truly helping anyone.
Measured against what any single person can do, the myriad of problems plaguing Haiti seem insurmountable. Often I wondered if trying to do anything good in Haiti was like attempting to empty the Pacific Ocean with a Dixie cup.
How to Help Haiti
I’ve been reading a lot about Haiti and the situation there is very complex, and the answers aren’t simple or easy. I do believe that just throwing money at Haiti is not likely to lead to any long term solutions for this deeply troubled nation. But that doesn’t mean we’re off the hook. There’s plenty we can all do to help the people of Haiti.
What I do think helps are programs and initiatives that help the Haitian people help themselves. Programs like Midwives for Haiti, which offers midwifery training to Haitian men and women, benefits the midwives and their families by giving them a marketable skill. In turn, these midwives can use their skills to save the lives of mothers and babies. In this way, one trained midwife has the potential to affect hundreds if not thousands of lives over the span of his or her career.
Having a Heart for Haiti
Another remarkable program that truly helps Haitians help themselves is Macy’s Heart of Haiti. Here’s a snapshot from Macy’s website that explain how Heart of Haiti helps (click to enlarge):
Macy’s Heart of Haiti initiative provides opportunities for artists in Haiti to work with US designers, helping strengthen international artisan relationships and making their products viable in the US market. The Heart of Haiti campaign pays in excess of fair wage to the talented artisans who create the product, giving them the dignity of work and economic self-determination.
Heart of Haiti provides real help to real people:
What We Can Do to Help Haiti This Holiday Season
Luckily, we do not need to go to Haiti to help the people there. In fact, this holiday season we can all help Haiti right from the comfort of our living rooms by going online and giving gifts that matter from Macy’s Heart of Haiti collection.
The Heart of Haiti collection features more than 40 home decor items including quilts, metalwork, jewelry and paintings all made almost entirely from recycled and sustainable items such as old cement bags, cardboard, oil drums and local gommier wood from Haiti. The newest collection for the Heart of Haiti line features products with earthy tones that can easily decorate any home with the help of a creative eye.
The entire time I was in Haiti I searched for the perfect picture that would take up residence in my beautiful frame when I got home.
On the last day, just before leaving the city of Hinche where I was staying, I got the picture a picture of the other midwives and nurses I served with while I was there. These women–along with the midwives and others devoted to saving lives of the mothers and infants in Haiti–are the real Heart of Haiti. I’ll never forget the lessons these women and men taught me about selfish love and service to others.