For the past week we have been brainstorming on how we can use our connections and resources in Northwest Haiti to respond to the current crisis. The crisis, which started in Port-au-Prince (PAP), is now moving into the countryside as thousands of people are leaving PAP where they no longer feel safe. Many are leaving PAP with little more than the clothes on their back. As of last Sunday, we had already identified 1020 families in the immediate vicinity of our land development project, who were hosting refugee families from PAP. Unfortunately the host families do not have the resources to help their friends and relatives from PAP. In addition, it will take a while before the relief agencies can reach out to the countryside since they are focused on PAP.
Our plan of action, which will create relief and jobs at the same time, is as follows:
1. Through the Nouveau Kiskeya Foundation, our non-profit arm, we will hire as many people as we can afford to do public works projects in the Nouveau Kiskeya neighborhood. (Think FDR and the WPA)
2.The first project will be to hand dig water retention canals in a flood plain near a 3000 acre agricultural area. This project will prevent erosion and the retained water will be used for crop irrigation, watering animals and household use, other than drinking water. This project will benefit hundreds of local farmers and increase food production.
3. Priority hiring will be offered to refugee families and families who are hosting refugee families.
4. Workers will work on a contract basis which will allow them to earn $100 in 10 days. This represents a very fair wage for the area.
5. Robert Ulysse, our Haitian partner, will be supervising the hiring and the work project. Since we have had as many as 1000 workers working on the NK project in the past, he knows how to do that.
Our goal is to raise $100,000. We have already raised $10,000. This means that 100 refugees will be able to start work on Monday. If we raise the full $100,000 we will be able to hire 250 refugee workers for two months giving them a chance to resettle their family during these difficult times.
To accomplish this goal we need your help. If you are willing and able to support this effort, please send your tax-deductible contribution to the address listed below. If you would be willing to forward this note to others who may want to help, please do so.
These are truly amazing times. I do not think the world yet fully comprehends the scope of this crisis. Thank you for your consideration as we try to reach out in Jesus name to help families resettle under these very difficult circumstances.
If you have any questions feel free to call me at 616.443.7066.
Please mail your support contribution to:
Nouveau Kiskeya Foundation
2600 Five Mile Road NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49525