There has been much discussion on how we as Black people can contribute toward the rebuilding of Haiti.
As we are all aware, Haiti is the foundation of Black freedom in the Caribbean, being the first Caribbean island/country to fight for and win its freedom, only years later to have to buy their freedom again from the French, with a debt that would last 200 years, and cost them their economic freedom to this day.
Without Haiti’s rebellions, history for all Caribbean islands would look very different.
NGOs, charities and the UN are not providing the appropriate aid for the people. For example, USAid deliver toothpaste and other inappropriate aid to Haiti after the recent hurricane, as opposed to sending food, fresh water and building materials for houses.
NGOs and charities get grants for governments and countries in which their administrative base exists. In receiving these grants they are expected to carry out a number of tasks in countries and cities that require aid, including sending aid.
Unfortunately aid agencies have board members to pay and highly paid staff to employ, skills do not come cheap, so not all of the money that should go in aid can go the those in need, some of it is required for administrative costs.
So aid agencies need to be seen to be distributing aid in order to get their next grant, but they also have massive overheads, so the solution is to send aid that is not appropriate. That way you can say that you have sent aid, governments can continue to give money to these aid agencies, but nobody had said…was the aid useful to rebuilding the lives of the Haitians.
The Black Caucus recently sent representatives to Haiti, were we spoke to Haitians about the plight of their country.
They confirmed that the poor were getting little or no aid. Houses were not being rebuilt, rivers and waterways were not been cleared of rubble and rubbish and no efforts were being made to give people the tools to feed themselves and self sustain.
Of course there is also political and economic capital in keeping everyday Haitians poor.
Politicians and the rich whites lived in luxury in gated communities with armed guards at their doors. Money was getting into Haiti, just not getting to the people that really need it.
So what can we do to help these people to whom we all owe our freedoms?
How can we ensure that the money that we contribute goes to those who need it, and used in a manner that is good for them?
How about we bypass the agencies all together and give to money straight to the people.
How about each Black person across the world gives a small contribution to a Haitian family directly.
How about each Black family of any size, sponsors a black child through their childhood and school years.
But here is the difference, how about we do it directly.
How about you have the name and address of the person, or family that you are sponsoring.
How about you know about them and their lives, and can point them out in a crowd, rather than just knowing the name of the agency that collects your money.
Yes, there will be some mistakes, and yes some families may not put the money to good use, but if even one in three household used the money appropriately, we as Black people would have made a direct difference to the lives of those we have sponsored in Haiti.
Help them to help themselves, rather that keeping the dependent on aid.
Why is it taking so long to rebuild Haiti?
How can we bypass the aid agencies? We do not know, but one suggestion was…the phone book.
If everyone picked a name out of the phonebook, made contact and established a means to sponsor a member of that family, we would be on our way.
If not the phonebook, the national census, a housing benefit registry, or anything that would get us directly closer to those in need.
True unconditional charity to those that really need it.
This is an open idea, to all our reader and beyond.
Run with it, develop, it and put the money directly into the hands that need it.