December 6, 2011
Rotary to #Rotary, Still Rebuilding Haiti — Paul D’Oliveira, Chair, #Haiti Projects Committee

Laptops provided by Rotarians of Concord and Central, MA for St. Joseph staff in Haiti. Photo credit: Paul D'Oliveira.

 

When many charities have gone, Rotary remains.  Connecting Rotary Clubs worldwide to Rotary Clubs in places of great need, Rotary International is the largest non-profit service organization in the world.  Haiti alone is host to 19 Haitian Rotary Clubs with over 600 active members.  Under the leadership of Dr. Guy Theodore,  a Haitian medical professional, they are working to help Haitians in their local communities, while still rebuilding their own lives.  They join a family of 80 Rotary Clubs and 3000 Rotarians throughout the Caribbean and 1.2 million members in 33,000 rotary clubs globally. 

 

Worldwide Rotary clubs have sponsored numerous service and support projects in Haiti, including, water services (wells, filtration, distribution), cholera treatment centers, medical clinics, tents, transportation, reconstruction, housing, and more.  Over the last 25 years, the Rotary Club of Concord, MA, and the Rotary District 7910 of Central, MA (with 1700 members in 55 clubs) have supported over $3.5M of “matching grant service projects” in Haiti. For every $1.00 a local club raises, Rotary Foundation provides $1.50 in matching grant dollars. Because the foundation has a large endowment ($1.5 billion), no money is taken out for operating or overhead and 100% of the dollars raised and matched go into each and every project.

 

The Rotary Club of Concord, MA (http://www.concordmarotary.org/) is celebrating delivery of a $35,000 technology grant project in Haiti  consisting of 11 new computers and three hi-speed internet-access connections for the three homes of the St. Joseph Family, a social service provider in Haiti.  Additionally, Rotary of Concord is working on a new $40,000 vehicle grant project for severe special needs children in Haiti, plus a $35,000 community development project in the picturesque southern seaside city of Jacmel (to help repair roads still damaged from the earthquake).

 

Post-earthquake, the Rotary Club of Concord raised the funds for 25 Shelterboxes (at $1000/kit), a 10-person tent fully equipped with provisions for living, sleeping and eating.  From all over the globe, shipped over 28,400 ShelterBox kits to Haiti providing housing for 285,000 people. Many of these home tents are still durable and in use in Haiti 2 years later, where over 500,00 people are still living in tattered tents.

 

One of the beauties of the Rotary Club model is that the Rotary Clubs of Haiti are exceptional, community-based partners, contributing their local knowledge and time to make projects and the distribution of emergency aid appropriate and impactful.  For more about Rotary Clubs in Haiti see:  (http://www.clubrunner.ca/portal/home.aspx?did=7020). 

 

For more about Dr. Guy Theodore, head of Rotary Clubs of Haiti, see:  (http://www.clubrunner.ca/portal/home.aspx?did=7020)

 

Paul D’Oliveira is Chair, Haiti Projects Committee for Rotary Club of Concord and a Board Member and Secretary, Hearts With Haiti, Raleigh, NC.

 

Editor’s Note:  Having seen Shelterboxes erected at various locations in Haiti, I can attest that they are far stronger and more livelable than the other canvass dwellings that many Haitians now call home.  For more about Shelterboxes see  ww.Shelterboxusa.org

Paul D'Oliveira of Rotary Club of Concord with a fully-loaded Shelterbox in Haiti