Two years ago, on January 12th, 2010, a massive earthquake hit Haiti. The world watched in horror as millions of people felt the effects of this devastating catastrophre take it toll on one of the poorest countries of the world. The world stood up in solidarity and billions of dollars were donated to Haiti in an effort to help the Haitian people rebuild the buildings that fell and most importantly, try to regain normalcy in their lives.
Dresses for Haiti was established after the earthquake in order to raise awareness of a topic that was slowly vanishing out of the news headlines. Although we knew we could not give back the lives or help on the ground, we felt, along with thousands of other NGOs, we were doing a small part to help the Haitian people after the earthquake. Cecilia Millan, Oxfam’s country director in Haiti, said the two-year anniversary “must be a call to action” [i]
After countless telethons, fundraisers, and donated aid was made in the name of helping Haitians there is still much more that needs to be done. The US alone reportedly donated about $3.1 billion for Haiti since the January 12, 2010 quake.[ii] Although billions of dollars of aid have been given Haitian President Martelly demonstrated the reality: more than 8 million people live without electricity, 5 million are illiterate and 8 out of 10 Haitians live on less than $2 a day.[iii] The organization, MADRE, reported a staggering twenty-two percent of IDPs and two percent of general community members have been victims of sexual assault in Port-au-Prince. [iv] The problems facing Haiti are only further plagued by the scattered aid, corrupt government officials, and harsh US and international policy towards Haiti. The earthquake only perpetuated the persistent problems.
Today, thousands still are displaced in Haiti, the tent camps continue to exist two years later, approximately half of the $5 billion in aid has yet to be distributed, gender based violence continues, and millions still live in poverty. There is so much work that has to be accomplished.
I, along with the countless volunteers with Dresses for Haiti and other organizations, have take Millan’s call to action and so have you, but we must continue this call in order to help the Haitian people.
As you have read here, seen at one of our events, or read in a book, Haiti has amazing cultural, historical and artistic achievements. We here at Dresses for Haiti are taking our call to action not only to illuminate those achievements but to also bring light to the gender based violence taking place Haiti. Two years later we are still committed.
As one person so elegantly commented:
“Haiti needs nurses that can come down there for more than a week to 10 days. Doctors are needed. People who can swing hammers and clean up rubble. The cholera can be licked with renal lactate hydration solution (RL), and clean drinking water. Little girls can be clothed with dresses made from pillow cases. Shoes can be donated. School supplies can be collected as well as OTC medical supplies.”[v]
All of which rings true. Here at Dresses for Haiti we have recently started “Little Dresses for Haiti” in which we make little dresses and send them to Haiti for the young girls. Already, Christine Jamieson and her wonderful volunteers have donated little dresses. We are still looking for other volunteers to get together, have a sewing party, and make these little dresses for the young girls most affected by the earthquake. Dresses for Haiti, along with our Haitian ambassador, will be making a trip to Haiti, mid February, to personally give the dresses to these girls.
Be apart of our call to action by volunteering or spreading the word. If you would like to be a part of our call to action email firstname.lastname@example.org