The place God calls you is the place where your deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet.
-Buechner

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Helping Haiti

I find that at times such as this one, I feel completely and utterly helpless. To the point to which I do nothing because I fear that my individual actions simply will not make a difference. I know I am wrong and there are many things each and every one of us can do to make small, individual differences add up and actually see change.

I need tangible ways to offer help. Maybe you're like me. You and I need to physically see some sort of result or be confident that the things I am doing are truly going to bring aid, quickly.

I've heard lately of several families in Canada who have children in orphanages and their adoptions are either complete (waiting on Immigration) or very close to it. My heart breaks for them...and I have been elated by success stories.

I have also heard of action being taken by a couple other countries, to help children. They are being moved to safety - with or without Visas, they are being permitted to leave the country and flee to safety - with safe, loving families who want to ensure their well-being.

Port-au-Prince, Haiti (CNN) -- Slashing red tape or ignoring ordinarily required paperwork, officials in the United States and the Netherlands have cleared the way for scores of Haitian orphans to leave their earthquake-ravaged homeland, according to officials from the two countries.[...]
(Read it all here)

Locally, I know of several families who are actively seeking to open their homes (as they hold current homestudies and are waiting to be matched or to bring home their own children from countries other than Haiti) to orphans, temporarily. What an incredible action to take. What a life changing decision to make and a wordless action like none other. Think of the volumes this speaks to their own children.

Another easy way to help is through organizations such as Kiva. I received a reminder today that many of the small business entrepreneurs supported through this organization were either located in Port-Au-Prince or have to travel there frequently to pick up merchandise to sell. Many of them were either killed, are missing, or may not (likely!) have the means to pick up and start again. With the help of Kiva supporters, however, they do stand a chance.

Kiva currently supports borrowers in Haiti through our field partner, Esperanza International. Esperanza is based in the Dominican Republic, but has an office and provides loans in Haiti. About 1/3 of the loans Esperanza posts to Kiva are for borrowers in Haiti. In addition, a large percentage of the loans posted from the Dominican Republic are of Haitian migrants who still have family in Haiti. Esperanza has told us that as of now, Esperanza staff are safe though they have several employees with family in Port-au-Prince who have not been able to contact their families and are very concerned. Esperanza’s clients are located in the North, while the earthquake struck the capital in the south. Most of their clients live close to their offices in the north. However, many of them have businesses that require them to travel to and from Port-au-Prince to buy merchandise to sell in the main markets. Their businesses may have been affected and it is possible that some of them may have been in Port-au-Prince at the time and been injured.

It is impossible for Esperanza to give us any exact figures at this time as information is only slowly trickling out of Haiti. As Kiva learns more about the effect of the earthquake on Esperanza and their Kiva borrowers we will update lenders.

So, if your current Kiva loan is close to complete repayment, if you have even a few dollars sitting in your Kiva account, or if you've been contemplating lending a Kiva loan but just needed a kick in the butt, do it now.

Do. It. Now.

You can change the life of a person, a family, and perhaps a village with a few dollars.

**Alternatively, this is an incredible way to help support Haiti. And think, you could purchase something and advertise a simple way others could support too.
I think I'm going to go for this. I was contemplating a Rag Time quilt for our daughter - to be started once a referral is realized - but I think this could be a very very cool alternative. And what a story it will tell. Perhaps not the most costly item (or most financially beneficial) on the site, but isn't it more important to purchase something for less and not find it in a wasteland in the near future simply because I "had" to buy?**

1 comment:

kelli said...

I need to read that article. That's exactly what I've been hoping for (doing away with some red tape and just saving the children). I would open my home!