Why are our most vulnerable so often our least protected?
Haitian pastor Jean Guillaume, determined to help the children of Haiti, moved some orphans to a mountainous region outside of Port-au-Prince to save them from that city’s sexual predators, thugs, and imminent flooding. About 200 children will live in his tent encampment, but without funds, it’s hard to say how long he can keep them sheltered, fed, and out of harm’s way.
Those 200 children are, for now, the lucky ones. They have a temporary reprieve from the daily fear they felt in Port-au-Prince, and from the floodwaters that will soon hit the capital’s tent cities.
Various governing bodies from around the world, including the United States and the European Union, have pledged $9.9 billion in aid to Haiti. More than half of that will be laid out over the next 18 months to rebuild Haiti’s infrastructure, reform the agriculture industry, and rebuild hospitals, schools, and government buildings. The projects will also provide jobs for thousands who are out of work.
This is good news, in a 30,000 foot level sort of way. But, we’re still left with the vulnerable—those who in any society should not be expected to care for themselves—the children.
Almost half of Haiti’s population is under the age of 18.
The children of Haiti are psychologically and physically worn down. What do they need right now? They need to feel safe again. They need to be safe again. They need three square meals a day, shelter from the storms, working toilets and running water, an education to lift them out of illiteracy and poverty, and someone to tuck them in at night.
This is an opportunity for Haitians and the world community to change the status quo in in this weary land.
Find reputable agencies that have been working in Haiti for several years and give money to them, directing that your donations be put to use in Haiti. It’s easy to pass off tragedy of this scope as a societal or governmental problem, something that can’t be solved by you or me, but ask any changemaker what it takes. He or she will tell you that it takes one person, or a small group of friends, or a family, to decide. That’s it, they just have to decide, and then they do.
We’ve decided to make a habit out of Haiti this year. We hope you do the same.
We’ll post any stories or pictures you have about your Haiti habit. It’s going to be a great year.