A Reflection on Haiti’s 2021
January 15, 2022
As we enter a new year, it is easy to focus on our own past and future; this is a time of new beginnings and reflection, centered around our efforts to make our own year better. But, in doing this, we often forget about the fact that others around the world do not have access to the same new beginnings and opportunities that we do.
Right now in a remote Haitian village, U.S. soldiers are landing a helicopter, tossing out thousands of pounds of cardboard boxes packed with rice, and flying on after just 10 minutes on the ground. Town after town, village after village, humanitarian aid is being delivered across Haiti.
It can’t come soon enough.
On August 14th, 2021, a magnitude 7.2 earthquake shook Haiti’s foundation, resulting in over 2,000 deaths and 12,000 injuries. “Nearly 53,000 buildings collapsed, and another 77,000 were severely damaged,” reports the UN News. The immeasurable devastation to the country goes even further than the thousands of deaths and damaged buildings; the widespread destruction to businesses and workplaces leads to a massive jump in unemployment, sending the country’s economy plummeting. An equal contributor to the unstable social conditions in Haiti right now was the assassination of the Haitian president, Jovenel Moïse, which happened this summer (a mere month before the massive tremor that shook Haiti.) Economic and political unrest in Haiti has shaken the country just as much as the earthquake.
Haiti is no stranger to economic and political unrest. Countries and organizations all over the world are sending funds and aid to help rebuild this struggling country. But there are not enough funds to provide help to everyone in Haiti that currently needs it. And even if there were, this aid often never gets to those that need it most. The main highway between two major Haitian cities (Port-au-Prince and Les Cayes) has been plagued by checkpoints run by gangs. In addition to aid being taken at these checkpoints, individuals are being kidnapped and held for ransom. This violence affects innocent citizens across the country, making work even more unsafe.
But Haiti’s largest problem is growing income inequality . The vast majority of Haitians lack access to markets or even money to borrow to start or grow a business. Haitian citizens are in desperate need of financial support. A donation to Wisconsin Microfinance provides a loan to a Hatian family, which creates a ripple effect through an entire community. Our loans have a 97 percent repayment rate, and we have circulated over 200,000 dollars in small loans through our programs in Haiti and the Philippines. Consider adding “Give More” to your list of 2022 New Year’s resolutions; by donating what you can to our organization, you can give a hand up and a better life to someone in Haiti who really needs it.
Author: Linnea Teske