Thursday, January 21, 2010

Plant With Purpose's Long Term Commitment to Haiti

by Aly Lewis, Grant Writer

The pictures and stories coming from Haiti this last week have been heartbreaking to say the least. Heartbreaking, confusing, and also strikingly foreign to me. Surely Haiti has historically confronted staggering problems, but as I see the pictures of crumpled buildings, displaced families, and dead bodies I somehow cannot connect them with the farmers we work with, the hillsides we reforest, and the staff members we support. I hear the story about Serge losing his wife and child and find it hard to comprehend that he is my coworker.

I want to tune it out. I want to turn off the news. But as much as I want to change (or deny) reality, we are there and we’ve been there. Plant With Purpose has been in Haiti for 13 years, partnering with farmers to improve their land, provide for their families, and transform their lives. We’ve planted over 300,000 trees, granted over 3,500 loans, and empowered thousands of individuals to build a better future for their children. And we’re not going anywhere.

Amidst pain and devastation, our Haitian staff is diving in to the relief efforts, facing reality, and serving and loving their neighbors to the best of their abilities—even if their neighbors quickly multiply as hundreds flee the ravaged capital of Port au Prince back into the rural villages where we work.

The pictures and stories coming from Haiti this week—including those below of a school that was toppled in Cherident where Plant With Purpose’s office used to be located—have been heartbreaking to say the least. Please know that Plant With Purpose is committed to creating lasting, meaningful change from the ground up in Haiti, and we aren’t going anywhere.

The back of the local high school in Cherident. Fortunately we received word that there weren't any children inside the school at the time of the quake. There were four teachers inside the high school, but they fled before the building before it collapsed.

The primary school in Cherident.

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