Outreach International, a humanitarian and development charity affiliated with the Community of Christ, is seeking help with post-earthquake reconstruction efforts in Haiti. Outreach International supports a network of 90 schools in Haiti. Some 30 of these schools were destroyed or sustained major damage from the earthquake. The reconstruction process goes far beyond the normal scope of work of our local partner, Organisation pour le Développement Social des Masses (ODSM), which administers the network of schools. It will take time, strength, and expertise to assess the situation, evaluate needs, negotiate with potential funders, and handle the details of rebuilding facilities and lives.
Outreach International has three broad objectives in post-earthquake Haiti:
As of the last week in January, I have been working as the Haiti Emergency Coordinator for Outreach International, a charity affiliated with the Community of Christ. Since the 1980s, Outreach International has supported a network of about 90 schools catering to 9,000 students in Haiti. About 30 of these schools were in the earthquake-affected area, most of which are damaged or destroyed, affecting over 1,200 children. The following are links to reflections on my first visit to Haiti in early February, as serialized in The Examiner (Independence, MO):
In times like this there is often a rush of people wanting to jet to the disaster zone and volunteer, or collect clothing, medicines and food to send to the people suffering. This altruistic impulse is praiseworthy and displays the great generosity and charity human beings show in times of trouble. However, not every well-meaning response to a disaster is a good one. In this briefing paper I wrote in light of the Asian Tsunami and Hurricane Katrina, I explain how, when responding to a humanitarian disaster, potential donors should keep in mind the following key principles to guide their gift: