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09/09/2010

Challenges in Haiti

It would not be so far from the truth to say that there are countless challenges in Haiti. For hundreds of years, Haiti has been suffering from a variety of problems, such as poverty, poor economy, unemployment, lack of education, inadequate water supply, poor sanitation, lack of health facilities, vulnerability to natural disasters, political instability, dire security situation, drug trafficking, insufficient agricultural resources, lack of livestock management, and many more that we may not have realized yet.

In spite of these challenges, it is interesting that Haiti is the first independent nation in the Caribbean, the only nation that gained independence through slave rebellion. Haiti is the second independent nation in all of America after the United States.

Now how do we assist Haiti in tackling these challenges? The only answer I can think of is to make people in Haiti self-reliant. 

People in Haiti will eventually have to stand on their own, instead of depending on others. Haiti will prosper if their people realize the importance of self-reliance. Haiti has fertile land that is useful for agriculture, rains, a variety of fruits, beautiful hills, and some of the finest beaches in the world.

JEN’s mandate is to assist disaster-affected people in becoming self-reliant, so we are trying to follow that mandate here in Haiti; by physically involving local people in our projects. JEN is rehabilitating 80 water works and providing hygiene promotion education to local communities, of which expected beneficiaries are around 50,000. Both projects are ongoing through the help of volunteers from local communities. These volunteers are working without any financial support from JEN. Admittedly, it is difficult to imagine working with volunteers from a country that has recently been affected by a massive earthquake, and many NGOs, in fact, have “Cash for Work” projects. JEN’s staff, however, has successfully made people realize to stand on their own and work for themselves without any external incentive but their future.

We hope that what we are doing here is best for Haiti.

In the dismal slums, the traumatized Haitians are living in “torn, sweltering, and soaked tents suitable at best for weekend camping,” surrounded by rubble and stench of rotting garbage, their patience taxed to the limit, and their lives shattered for lack of basic services, including housing, sanitation, and enough food and clean water.

Torrential afternoon rains leave “lake-sized puddles in which mosquitoes breed and spread malaria. Deep, raspy coughs can be heard everywhere. Scabies and other infections transform children’s soft skin into irritating red bumpy rashes. Bellies are swelling and the hair turning orange from malnutrition. Vomiting and diarrhea are as common as flies.”

September 9, 2010 in Haiti |