Women in Haiti


It is very difficult to raise a family in Haiti, with violence, crimes and starvation. The average annual income is under $400 and most live in poverty. Life is extremely difficult, especially for women in Haiti. Rape and violence against women have a high rate in Haiti. Women are seen as sexual objects, usable and abusable.

A women’s role in society depends on her or her husband’s economic status. Sadly most women are very poor and they are limited to what they do. Such as field work, domestic work, working at a sweatshop or selling at market. It is said women do most of the work, but they don’t make the decisions. If a woman does not give her husband a son, he finds another woman to have a boy with. Haitian women work hard despite all they must go through. In hopes that their children can one day have a better life.

Our organization’s (Dresses For Haiti)  goal is to be a part of change for Haiti. We hope with every dress that is made and sold, it will be the next step to giving the women and children a better life.

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Tragedy strikes Japan


On March 11, 2011 Japan was struck by a massive earthquake. Causing damage, fires, blackouts, and tsunamis. Many lives have been lost due to this unfortunate event. The earthquake caused two explosions at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Leading to leakage of radioactive material. It is said that about 190 people have been exposed to radiation. Some but not all, may be exposed to a possibility of cancer. This all depends on the type of radioactive material that escaped. We give our heartfelt prayers and condolences to the people of Japan.

Although our main mission lies in Haiti, we know the aftereffects that can shock a nation after an earthquake and it is not the physical aftershocks but the emotional ones. A tragedy like so, exposes the fragility of mankind. What happens when government and politics are no longer relevant because food and resources are scarce? It is amazing to see the response from the international community but we must escape politics and bureaucracy in order to create real change. Clean up and restructuring is going to take several years, we must not waver in our support for a nation struck by such a damaging tragedy. Earthquakes are both physically and mentally traumatic and in this time we support the people of Japan effected by this tragedy, the people abroad effected by this tragedy and the people at home.

It is in these times of tragedy that notions of “otherness” become irrelevant. We are no longer divided by notions of the nation-state and political boarder lines. We need to create a bridge of commonality based on the label of humanity. We are all a part of the human race and we must help our people out of these tough time. We must stay away from blaming and pointing fingers. Let us realize that humans are suffering and we must do all we can to help and ease this suffering.

The goal of our organization is to ease this human suffering through awareness and knowledge. We understand the process of dealing with the aftereffects of an earthquake because we are relentless on our mission. Although the topic of Haiti may have escaped the minds of many we still continue our mission to never forget the the tragic earthquake that struck Haiti back in January 2010. Our goal is to help women and children of Haiti, by raising money with every dress that is made and sold.

You can help ease the suffering of our peoples of both Haiti and Japan at this websites.

You can help Japan by donating:

http://www.worldvision.org/worldvision/eappeal.nsf/donation-item?Open&amt=50&num=371&campaign=113655219&cmp=KNC-113655219

You can help Haiti by donating:

http://www.helphaitinow.org/

-Because Knowledge can start a revolution.


Haitians Cry in Letters: ‘Please — Do Something!’

Jake Price for The New York Times

Sandra Felicien dropping a letter seeking help into a collection box at the camp for displaced earthquake survivors where she lives.

By DEBORAH SONTAG
Published: September 19, 2010

    CORAIL-CESSELESSE, Haiti — It was after midnight in a remote annex of this isolated tent camp on a windswept gravel plain. Marjorie Saint Hilaire’s three boys were fast asleep, but her mind was racing.

    Multimedia

    sandra felicien

    Jake Price for The New York Times

    Ms. Felicien read one appeal for help as other camp residents listened. “It is like we are bobbing along on the waves of the ocean, waiting to be saved,” she said.

    The camp leader had proposed writing letters to the nongovernment authorities, and she had so much to say. She lighted a candle and summoned a gracious sentiment with which to begin.

    “To all the members of concerned organizations, I thank you first for feeling our pain,” she wrote slowly in pencil on what became an eraser-smudged page. “I note that you have taken on almost all our problems and some of our greatest needs.”

    Ms. Saint Hilaire, 33, then succinctly explained that she had lost her husband and her livelihood to the Jan. 12 earthquake and now found herself hungry, stressed and stranded in a camp annex without a school, a health clinic, a marketplace or any activity at all.

    “Please — do something!” she wrote from Tent J2, Block 7, Sector 3, her new address. “We don’t want to die of hunger and also we want to send our children to school. I give glory to God that I am still alive — but I would like to stay that way!”

    In the last couple of weeks, thousands of displaced Haitians have similarly vented their concerns, depositing impassioned pleas for help in new suggestion boxes at a hundred camps throughout the disaster zone. Taken together, the letters form a collective cri de coeur from a population that has felt increasingly impotent and ignored.

    With 1.3 million displaced people in 1,300 camps, homelessness is the new normal here. Two recent protest marches have sought to make the homeless a central issue in the coming presidential campaign. But the tent camp residents, miserable, weary and in many cases fighting eviction, do not seem to have the energy to become a vocal force.

    When the International Organization for Migration added suggestion boxes to its information kiosks in scores of camps, it did not expect to tap directly into a well of pent-up emotions. “I anticipated maybe a few cranky letters,” said Leonard Doyle, who handles communications for the organization in Haiti. “But to my absolute, blow-me-down surprise, we got 700 letters in three days from our first boxes — real individualized expressions of suffering that give a human face to this ongoing tragedy.”

    In some cases, the letters contain a breathless litany of miseries, a chain of woes strung together by commas: “I feel discouraged, I don’t sleep comfortably, I gave birth six months ago, the baby died, I have six other children, they don’t have a father, I don’t have work, my tarp is torn, the rain panics me, my house was crushed, I don’t have money to feed my family, I would really love it if you would help me,” wrote Marie Jean Jean.

    In others, despair is expressed formally, with remarkable restraint: “Living under a tent is not favorable neither to me nor to my children” or “We would appreciate your assistance in obtaining a future as one does not appear to be on our horizon.”

    Several writers sent terse wish lists on self-designed forms: “Name: Paul Wilbert. Camp: Boulos. Need: House. Demand: $1,250. Project: Build house. Thank you.”

    And some tweaked the truth. Ketteline Lebon, who lives in a camp in the slum area called Cité Soleil, cannot read or write. She dictated a letter to her cousin, who decided to alter Ms. Lebon’s story to say that her husband had died in the earthquake whereas he had really died in a car accident. “What does it matter?” Ms. Lebon said, shrugging. “I’m still a widow in a tent with four kids I cannot afford to send to school.”

    At this camp’s annex, Corail 3, Sandra Felicien, a regal woman whose black-and-white sundress looks as crisp as if it hangs in a closet, has become the epistolary queen. An earthquake widow whose husband was crushed to death in the school where he taught adult education courses, Ms. Felicien said she wrote letters almost daily because doing so made her feel as if she were taking action. “We are so powerless,” she said. “It is like we are bobbing along on the waves of the ocean, waiting to be saved.”

    THE CHILDREN STILL SUFFER


    Children recently orphaned by Haiti's earthquake could be targeted for organ trafficking, Haiti's prime minister says.

     

    (CNN) — Trafficking of children and human organs is occurring in the aftermath of the earthquake that devastated parts of Haiti, killed more than 150,000 people, and left many children orphans, Haitian Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive said Wednesday.

    “There is organ trafficking for children and other persons also, because they need all types of organs,” Bellerive said in an exclusive interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour.

    He did not give specifics, but asked by Amanpour if there is trafficking of children, Bellerive said, “The reports I received say yes.”

    Haiti is trying to locate displaced children and register them so they can either be reunited with other family members or put up for adoption, Bellerive said.

    But, he said, illegal child trafficking is “one of the biggest problems that we have.”

    Many groups appear to be legitimate, “but a lot of organizations — they come and they say there were children on the streets. They’re going to bring them to the [United] States,” he said.

    Bellerive said he’s trying to work with embassies in Port-au-Prince to protect Haiti’s children from traffickers.

    Video: Child trafficking in Haiti

    “Any child that is leaving the country has to be validated by the embassy under a list that they give me, with all the reports,” he said.

    Speaking at his temporary headquarters in a police station near the Port-au-Prince Airport, Bellerive said the first thing Haitian officials seek to confirm is whether the children have adoption papers before they leave the country.

    In Washington, the State Department said Wednesday it is moving cautiously on the issue of adoptions from Haiti.

    “We want to be sure that when a child has been identified, that due diligence has been done to make sure that this is truly an orphan child and not a child that actually has family,” said State Department Spokesman P.J. Crowley. “Sometimes if you push too hard, too fast there can be unintended consequences. So we are being very, very careful.”

    “We respect the sovereignty of Haiti and their right to control the departure of Haitian children. So we think the system that has been established is working effectively. I know there is a perception out there of ‘cut through the red tape.’ But there are very good reasons we want to make sure this process works well,” Crowley said.

    On the broader issue of Haitian children, Bellerive told Amanpour the government will reopen schools Monday in most of the country.

    He said there were particular problems in Port-au-Prince.

    “We cannot open one school and not the other. But some of the schools want to operate right now. They say if there are tents — if there are facilities and we can help them — they are willing to open very rapidly.”

    Bellerive also highlighted the critical importance of getting enough tents and shelters to Haiti before the rainy season begins in May. He said he didn’t know where all the tents promised by aid agencies and governments are.

    “We have reports that they’ve already sent 20,000 tents maybe, and 20,000 more are on the way. But yesterday, when we didn’t see the tents and we didn’t see any action to organize the shelters, the president himself asked to see the storage place and we only counted 3,500 tents.”

    Bellerive said President Rene Preval asked for 200,000 tents to house between 400,000 and 500,000 people. “We are very preoccupied about the consequences of all those people on the street, if it starts to rain.”

    The prime minister also rejected criticism from within Haiti and overseas that his government needs to be more visible to the Haitian people.

    “We are in charge. Frankly I don’t understand what that position is that we are not visible,” he said. “I almost feel that I spend more time talking to radio, television, than I am working.”

    “I know it’s part of my job and I have to communicate. But I really feel that I have spent too much time doing that.”

    Bellerive also said he does not believe it’s necessary to relocate the capital to another part of Haiti.

    “I have to wait for technical and scientific evaluation, but from what I’ve heard until now, Port-au-Prince will stay there.”

    “Tokyo is still there, Los Angeles is still there. We just have to prepare a better constructed Port-au-Prince, a safer Port-au-Prince,” he said.

    He also acknowledged the need for more transparency and new procedures to prevent corruption in Haiti. But he said 70 to 80 percent of the aid coming to the country right now does not go through the Haitian government.

    Bellerive said about 90 percent of American aid, for example, goes through non-governmental organizations. “They are accountable to the American government, but not to the Haitian government,” he said.

    The prime minister told Amanpour that he does not believe people overseas are helping Haiti out of a moral obligation.

    “I believe it’s a more pragmatic responsibility,” he said. “I believe Haiti could be an interesting market in the midterm. We are 10 million [people] here and it’s a market.”

     

    Other Ways to Help the Haitian People


    The plight of this hemisphere’s poorest country following January’s devastating earthquake has receded from the front page of newspaper”s and the evening news.  According to Emily Smack, who heads the Office of Haitian Ministries for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Norwich, Haiti.  One million people remain displaced, many living in camps whose tents, due to intense heat and rain, are rotting away.

    according to Hartford Courant(Courant.com)

    Now I’m sure we’ve heard of the many organizations that are already assisting the nation with food, education, medical assistance, and housing and we thank those organizations for their help.  But many of us who want to help can’t either because monetary reasons, health, or the inability to get away, due to our own struggles.  But there is one way all of us can help, by writing, or calling your political representative, or writing directly to the President of the United States.  We need to push the Administration to expedite immigration to this country.  Because of a backlog in visas available for Haitians is causing delays of up to 11 years.  It’s not the first time a President has had to expedite similar situations, in 2000 he expedited visa’s for Cuban immigrants he should do the same for Haiti, there really is no excuse, in June of 2010, the US Conference of Mayors, in Oklahoma City, urged Washington to expedite visa’s for Haitians that are already approved for visa”s, and meet all the requirements.  Let’s do our part.

    Our Hearts Go Out to the Women and Children of Pakistan


    Many of you have already heard about the tragic flooding in Pakistan.  According to the RHRC (Reproductive Health Response in Crises Consortium) about 3 million people have been affected by this flood and over 1,500 have been killed. And as we all know in disasters like this it is always the women and children who suffer the most. 85 percent of the people who have been left homeless are women. In disasters such as this women are more prone to suffering from starvation, exposure, sexual assault, and water-borne diseases. The women in Pakistan also have very limited access to health aid as well. According to the RHRC seeking aid is especially difficult for women in areas with cultural norms that place shame upon receiving aid or medical care from a male. Women may avoid seeking needed care if there is no woman to provide them.

    Here is an excerpt from Shmyalla Jawad’s blog about the cultural shock the women in Pakistan are facing in the camps:

    The camps are also culturally shocking for women and girls. Many have never been around a man who isn’t a member of their family. Now they are amongst hundreds of men who are complete strangers. In some sectors of Pakistan society, apart from the religious notions of covering up and not mingling with males outside one’s family, women are considered to be the custodians of male and family honour. This notion of honour is linked with women’s sexual behaviour so their sexuality is considered to be a potential threat to the honour of family. Therefore, the systems of sex segregation known as purdah are used by the society to protect the honour of the family. But in the camps there are no provisions for purdah. Young boys and girls have to sleep in the same room, at times next to each other, most mothers and families do not feel it’s safe for their daughters, especially in the current circumstances.

    As women we are forced to be strong, independent, and fend for ourselves and our children. Even in times and tragedies like this we will not fall we will not be defeated we will stay strong and get through this.