Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Some Local San Diego Coverage- Clairemont Community News

It's not just the New York Times and Christianity Today that are giving Plant With Purpose great media coverage; it's also local news agencies reporting on how members of its own community are thinking about things on a global scale. If you live in Clairemont, make sure you pick up the February copy of the Clairemont Community News! Below is Plant With Purpose's cover story.

Clairemont Group Works in Haiti

posted 18 hours ago by CCN Webmaster-

By Janet Miller

Just before 5PM on January 12th, a 7.0 magnitude earthquake hit the Caribbean island nation of Haiti. The epicenter of what the USGS says is the strongest quake to hit Haiti since 1770 was just 10 miles off the coast of the capital, Port-au-Prince. The area has since been rocked by over 30 aftershocks, ranging in magnitude from 4.2 to 5.9.

One aspect of the calamity that Clairemont-based nonprofit Plant With Purpose is very familiar with is the potential for deadly mudslides, caused by the extensive deforestation of the countryside. Throughout most of the 20th century, most of Haiti’s trees were cut down for fuel and to sell as charcoal. In the 1920’s forests covered more than 60% of the land; today less than 2% of Haiti is forested. Plant With Purpose’s mission in Haiti is to eradicate poverty through reforestation efforts, soil conservation, and community savings and loan groups. The organization currently works in 67 villages in Haiti and focuses on long term development work to ensure that villages are more resilient to natural disasters.

Doug Satre, Director of Outreach and Development for Plant with Purpose (and himself a Clairemont resident) told me that “social services in Haiti are tenuous at the best of times.” According to Doug, “the Haitian people are wonderful, hard-working people with a joyful approach to life. Unfortunately, they have suffered because of inadequate governance and corruption.”

Adding to the post-earthquake misery is the fact that as the rural economy worsened, more people moved to cities like Port-au-Prince to seek work. That area, already overcrowded and poorly constructed, was so badly damaged in the quake that many of these people are now returning to their villages having lost everything.

Fortunately, Plant With Purpose’s 40 staff members in Haiti are uninjured and ready to act quickly to continue their work of building the economic infrastructure that will create jobs, start farms and businesses. Doug anticipates their Haitian Director will be assessing emergency needs in the communities in which they have been working.

Programs to teach job skills, animal husbandry and farming are already in place but in the wake of the disaster there will be additional needs. Doug reminded me that many stock animals will need to be replaced, along with seeds for crops ruined.

If you are looking for a way to help Haiti in its struggle to rebuild and to transform their society by reversing long term trends that hold them back, then consider a donation to Plant With Purpose. To learn more about this organization headquartered in Clairemont or to make a donation to Haiti Relief visit their website, www.PlantWithPurpose.org or write to Plant With Purpose, 4903 Morena Blvd., #1215, San Diego, CA 92117.


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