Yes, You Can—Do Something About Disasters

This image is part of an amazing series created and generously shared by Ricardo Levins Morales. Check out the whole series at his studio

Terrified refugees fleeing Afghanistan as the Taliban takes over. Children dying in the fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, as ICU units fill in hospitals across the southeastern United States. An earthquake in Haiti. Out-of-control fires on the west coast of the United Staes and in Greece. Drought. Global warming. 

The news is overwhelmingly awful. I know some people who simply refuse to watch or read or listen to news because it makes them feel bad. I disagree, but I understand. In weeks of disaster overload, it’s hard to keep paying attention to the suffering of others. 

Still, I believe each of us can do something. We can pay attention. We can see the human beings involved in these disasters. We can keep on caring. 

And we can all help, in small ways. 

Last week’s earthquake in Haiti killed more than 700 people (and counting) and left thousands more injured and homeless. The country still has not recovered from the 2010 earthquake that killed 300,000 people, while destroying the entire capital city of Port-au-Prince. Last month, President Jovenal Moise was assassinated. Now Tropical Storm Grace is headed for the island. 

An author I follow on Twitter recommended two places to give to help the people of Haiti. I’ve looked at both organizations and they have good track records. They are Fonkoze and Hope for Haiti

Charity Navigator named Hope for Haiti as a top 10 humanitarian relief organization. They also published Hope for Haiti’s 2019 blog post about 5 Things to Consider When Supporting Disaster Relief and Recovery. The five things:

1. First, look to local organizations that are already on the ground. 

2. Pay attention to accountability, transparency, and governance.

3. Support organizations that have short, medium, and long-term plans for disaster

4. Don’t send things that aren’t needed. 

5. Follow up on how your support was used if you don’t hear back.

You can find out more about Fonkoze and donate here

“Fonkoze (The Foundation) was created 27 years ago to bring financial inclusion and development services to Haiti’s poor – providing them a viable way to lift themselves out of poverty. Today, we are a family of 3 organizations – Fonkoze Financial Services (SFF), Fonkoze Foundation and Fonkoze USA – that work together to empower Haitians, primarily women, to lift their families out of poverty. For more about who we are, click here.”

You can find out more about Hope for Haiti here, find its earthquake response page here, and donate from either page. 

“Hope for Haiti’s mission is driven by the fundamental belief that there is always a pathway to a better life in Haiti despite the numerous challenges that exist. To accomplish our mission, we implement an integrated model for development that has been proven to reduce poverty by working with community leaders in rural areas in five key program areas: educationhealthcareinfrastructure, access to clean water, and economic opportunity.” 

Donating is a small step. The bigger steps have to do with changing public policy. But for tonight, I hope you will join me in taking at least that one small step. 

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