Just Reconstruction

Three years after the earthquake, major changes needed to avoid an aid legacy of deeper poverty for Haitians

January 8, 2013

Cross-posted from the Canada Haiti Action Network

Statement by the Canada Haiti Action Network, January 7, 2013

Billions of dollars of aid to Haiti have been pledged or spent following the devastating earthquake on January 12, 2010. Yet three years later, life remains very harsh for many of the country’s ten million people. Haiti’s prospects for post-earthquake progress remain exceptionally challenging.

                              

A Message to Occupy Sandy from New Orleans And Haiti

November 29, 2012

Cross-posted from Occupy Wall Street.

By Beverly Bell

As a native New Orleanian and as someone who has lived and worked in Haiti off and on for more than three decades –since the earthquake, mostly on– I offer some recommendations on catastrophe aid and solidarity. The suggestions come from my own experience and observations, as well as critiques from communities in Haiti and New Orleans about their experiences after their epic disasters.

Killing with Kindness: Haiti, International Aid, and NGOs

October 25, 2012

Cross-posted from Killing with Kindness

After Haiti's 2010 earthquake, over half of U.S. households donated to thousands of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in that country. Yet we continue to hear stories of misery from Haiti. Why have NGOs failed at their mission?

 

A LETTER FROM THE SOCIAL ORGANIZATIONS AND MOVEMENTS OF THE AMERICAS TO THE DEFENSE MINISTERS

October 8, 2012

 

In this letter to defense ministers of the Americas, an agglomeration of social justice organizations across the Americas rebuke the recent (and longstanding) militarization of development on the continent, calling for both an ideological and a practical paradigm shift on the part of the United States. 

On the occasion of the X Conference of Defense Ministers of the Americas to take place in Punta del Este, Uruguay, on October 8-10, 2012, we make the following statement:...

What dreams are made of: Haiti Kanpé

October 3, 2012

Cross-posted from the Trinidad & Tobago Review Column, posted on Miriam Chancy's website.

Trinidad & Tobago Review Column, Sept. 2012

Prince Luc, artist, Director, FOSAJ, w/Papier Maché Carnival Puppets, Jacmel 2012©MJA Chancy

Who has never dreamed? Of a desired object, person, or state of being? Who has never dreamed? Who has never dared to dream?

A week ago today, I sat in Cyvadier, on the outskirts of Jacmel in southern Haiti, and listened to Guerda Constant tell me the story of her ad-hoc work with rural youth, work she does in addition to her full time occupation working with NGOs.  I listened to her telling me of how she speaks with young Haitians, especially in rural areas, hoping to raise in them an awareness of their own gifts, of the beauty of their country, despite all evidence to the contrary.  Guerda told me the story of one little girl gifted with a beautiful singing voice.  She asked the girl what was her dream and the girl responded that she had none.  Guerda pressed her, asking her what she thought of when she let loose with her friends, what she wondered about.  The girl responded that she did not wonder about anything.  And when you are alone? Guerda asked, what do you think about.  And the girl answered that she did not think about anything in particular but that, occasionally, when a day, or two had gone by and she had not eaten, she would make her way to the side of a river running close to her house, find a spot, and sing there, alone, until she felt better, until the pangs of hunger left her and the song lifted her beyond the pain and despair.  This gift, this song, Guerda asked, thinking of the long history of Haitian troubadours, don’t you dream of doing something with it, of singing for others?  No, the girl answered. Here, I can’t afford to dream.  Guerda is one of many Haitians working to restore the capacity to dream and to hope to the youth of Haiti.  But we may well wonder what it means when a generation of children cannot dare to dream, refuses to dream, because they have already seen too much, or too little, to warrant what must strike them as reckless optimism.

Some Haitians Are Still Waiting for Permanent Housing

October 3, 2012

Cross-posted from PRI's The World.

By Amy Bracken October 1, 2012

Other Worlds Event in New Orleans! Fighting for Public Housing in Haiti and New Orleans

September 5, 2012

Like so many New Orleanians since Katrina, Haitians are fighting to have housing recognized as a basic right.  Since the massive 2010 earthquake devastated their country, there has been NO large-scale housing plan to shelter the nearly half a million people who remain displaced and homeless.  Displaced people, Haitian grassroots organizations, and international allies have launched a campaign called Under Tents, demanding public or affordable housing. International solidarity will be vital to their success!

THE CREOLE CONNECTION: NEW ORLEANS, HAITI, AND CATASTROPHE

August 29, 2012

By Beverly Bell

August 29, 2012


As a native and resident of New Orleans who has spent three decades in and out of Haiti, and as director of an organization with offices in both places, this has been a harrowing week. The two locales sit squarely in Hurricane Isaac’s path. We don’t know yet how New Orleans will weather the giant storm. The official death toll in Haiti was 24, but many more will surely die from secondary effects of cholera or, for those who have lost their slim margins of sustenance, hunger.

THE THINGS THAT ARE THE RICHEST ARE THE LEAST VALUED: NEW ORLEANS AND HAITI, POST-CATASTROPHE

August 28, 2012

Lolis Eric Elie
Interviewed by Beverly Bell

August 28, 2012

Tomorrow, seven years to the day after Hurricane Katrina dodged New Orleans, the city will be venturing out to assess Hurricane Isaac’s overnight imprint on its neighborhoods. Yet parts of the city – especially low-income, African-American parts – are still damaged from the flood that followed the 2005 storm, when more than 50 levees broke and filled New Orleans with killing waters.

Below, writer Lolis Eric Elie speaks to the connections between his native New Orleans and Haiti, which did not escape Hurricane Isaac. Officially, 24 people died when the hurricane passed through on Saturday, though the numbers of those who will die from secondary effects such as hunger and cholera will never be counted. Elie’s discussion, however, focuses on an earlier disaster in Haiti, the epic 7.0 earthquake of January 12, 2010. 

"Homelessness, Displacement, Evictions . . . This Sounds Familiar": New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center

July 23, 2012

Cross-posted from the New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center.
Posted on 05. Jul, 2012 by

By Hannah Adams, Guest Contributor

There are a number of obvious parallels between housing needs in New Orleans after the 2005 hurricanes and housing needs in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake.

In both disasters, large regions lost the majority of their affordable housing stock, resulting in massive spikes in homelessness and displacement.  UNITY of Greater New Orleans reports that homelessness rates effectively doubled in the city from January 2005 to January 2009. [1] The Greater New Orleans Community Data Center adds that New Orleans experienced a population loss of over 140,000 according to the 2010 census, and that poor New Orleanians and families with children under eighteen were among those less likely to return. [2] Meanwhile, the Under Tents Campaign reports that 400,000 Haitians remain homeless in displacement camps where they face gender-based violence, disease, unsanitary living conditions, and flooding.

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