Homophobia is a problem in Haiti for many reasons including a lack of education and an environment still too permissive of human rights violations. Religious leaders may promote tolerance or incite hatred. Being openly gay in Haiti is both dangerous and courageous. Unfortunately, the Massimadi LGBT festival has been called off due to threats against participating organizations including FOKAL, Kouraj, and others. The festival will hopefully take place safely and at a later date. The full article by AP journalist David McFadden follows.
“Father Joseph” is an inspiring documentary about a priest and community leader who has devoted his life to empowering the rural poor. Father Joseph and his colleagues launched and expanded Haiti’s largest micro-credit bank network (Fonkoze), the country’s first rural University, schools, radio station, an orphanage, and more. While the earthquake destroyed much of what had been created, Fondwa has not given up. They are building it back, just as before, little by little.
Up to 7,000 Haitian migrants may try to cross the Southern California border in the months ahead. The majority of these migrants were given humanitarian visas to live and work in Brazil following the earthquake. While there were many opportunities to work in the lead-up to the Olympics, the Brazilian economy has taken a beating as of late. As work became harder to find, Haitian migrants increasingly sought opportunities elsewhere - and often travelling dangerous routes to do so.
Poverty Inc. is a documentary about the organizations created to address poverty and the extent to which they succeed in doing so. Haiti features prominently in this documentary and offers cautionary lessons about how sometimes those who claim to be helping Haiti and other countries like it are in reality helping themselves.
The Miami Herald’s Jacqueline Charles has covered the re-development of the Fort National neighborhood in Port au Prince. This project required extensive consultations with residents, community leaders, and gang members to even begin. Port au Prince, with its ever-growing population, has no shortage of neighborhoods where electricity, water, and common spaces were an afterthought.
The Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves is a public-private partnership hosted by the UN Foundation to save lives, improve livelihoods, empower women, and protect the environment by creating a thriving global market for clean and efficient household cooking solutions. At present, 93% of Haitian households cook with wood fuels - a major, ongoing driver of deforestation. The Alliance has launched a five year plan to improve access to clean cooking alternatives in Haiti. If you have partners or staff interested in working with them, contact information follows.
The Haitian Ministry of Health and its partners have launched a new HIV/AIDS campaign focused on raising awareness, rapid testing, and treatment. With the support of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the Global Fund for HIV/AIDS, TB, and Malaria and other donors, Haitians can be tested and treated for free. Stigma and discrimination, especially against women and members of the LGBT community, remain challenges. Courtesy of AFP, more information about the campaign follows.
Below is an article from the U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) about lymphatic filariasis (LF) in Haiti. While Haiti is one of only four countries in the Americas where LF is found, progress is being made toward elimination. Many partners are working together to that end including the Haitian Ministry of Health, the CDC, USAID, IMA World Health, the University of Notre Dame, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. More information follows.
Art is perhaps Haiti’s only inexhaustible resource. Generations of artists have carried on Haiti’s artistic traditions although political instability limited opportunities available to them. Louise Perrichon and Pascale Monnin are now leading an effort to recreate the Centre d’Art in Port au Prince which was destroyed in the earthquake. Its mission will remain the same – to find, mentor, and promote young Haitian artists. David McFadeen's full article follows. Learn how to get involved at the Centre d’Art website (in both French and English).