Take a moment to think about how you define community. Is it defined by your neighbors? Is it your co-workers, relatives or social media acquaintances? Is it those we count on for basic services – the doctors, teachers, postal workers, and garbage collectors? Is it the highway you drive on, or the house you live in. Or is it shared experiences, hopes and dreams?
Now consider that in many parts of Haiti, community is not defined by what people share, but more by what they lack.
After the 2010 earthquake, the community of people we serve in the neighborhood of Delmas 32 were defined by homelessness. They lived in a tent city a stone’s throw away from where they had lived the day before the disaster. J/P HRO helped relocate all families back into safe and durable homes in their neighborhood and we continue to serve the same community in a new location.
At J/P HRO, we’re about supporting stronger communities in Haiti. That sounds great, but what does that really look like? It looks like ensuring access to basic services that should be every human being’s basic right. Everyone deserves medical care, housing, education, jobs and job training. We must listen closely and respond quickly to the needs of those we work with. Most of all, it means allowing Haitians to shape our mission instead of the other way around.
The earthquake uncovered another larger disaster in Haiti: Poverty. What is self-evident across the world is that poverty prevents sustainable growth. Haiti and the communities we serve are ready to grow. With your support, they won’t just grow, they will thrive.