Give & Take: Haitians Need Economic Support Amid Humanitarian Crisis
This July, Haitian President Jovenel Moïse was assassinated by unknown individuals, sparking chaos and a breakdown in the functions of the government. A little over a month later, as international parties struggled to assess the situation and even provide simple aid, a powerful earthquake struck Haiti, killing at least 2,200 people, injuring thousands more, and plunging an already unstable situation into humanitarian crisis. Just days after the earthquake, Tropical Storm Grace hampered recovery efforts yet again, and triggered a wave of landslides, wreaking further havoc on the nation.
All of this comes about 10 years after a tragic earthquake struck Haiti in 2010 killing 200,000 to 250,000 individuals. From 2010 until last year, Haitians were pledged just $13 billion in recovery funding. Less than 50% of that funding is believed to have reached its intended target, according to statistics tracked by Office of the Special Envoy for Haiti. This amount represents just a fraction of the US' fiscal response to a single recent crisis, Hurricane Sandy, which earned $50 billion in federal recovery funds. Rebounding and recovering will take far longer than US states recently ravaged by Hurricane Ida; and in many cases it will prove impossible. Resources are scant, but Haitians are resilient, and 600 miles off of the US coast, the country continues to rebuild.
Through it all, English in Mind Institute (EIM) is an oasis of education and community. EIM is an adult English school located in Port-au-Prince with a focus on instilling leadership principles. EIM’s website says it best: 'English education is a particularly powerful tool in Haiti that can be used to attain employment, promotions, university scholarships and countless other opportunities. As one of the only non-profit, adult English schools in the country, EIM Institute is Haitian-led and serves as a platform of advancement for over 200 students, all determined and eager to add their voices to the future story of Haiti.'
Over the course of the last six years, my wife and I have traveled to Haiti with EIM several times, both supporting the educational side of the program, and physically clearing a field that would be used to build a new facility for classrooms and teaching. Today, those facilities are up and running.
What I found at EIM is a joyful, enthusiastic community of individuals who are incredibly hungry for education. EIM is truly a community of students and staff that support each other, laugh together and strive to improve their lives, their neighborhoods, and their country. Most importantly, I saw how a simple tool like learning English can help Haitians connect with the world and gain better economic opportunities.
EIM isn’t “just” an English school, though. The cultural exchange with volunteers from outside Haiti is an invaluable part of the educational experience. It's a chance to connect with foreigners, exchange stories and talk about aspirations.
If you'd like to join me in making EIM's upcoming school year possible, the institution is continuing to operate and manage its facilities even as Haiti recovers - and will keep educating students to prepare them for a better future. Visit https://eimhaiti.com/donate/ to learn more.