Originally posted on Food Forever – The AJWS Food Justice Blog.
Today’s heart-breaking New York Times story about Haiti’s orphans is a painful reminder of the earthquake’s enduring devastation. The article offers a harrowing portrait of Daphne, a 14-year-old girl who watched her mother’s mangled body get carted away in a wheelbarrow from a shattered marketplace. Daphne then lived in a makeshift orphanage founded by Frades—a grassroots collective that specializes in microloans and began supporting abandoned and orphaned children after the earthquake. Daphne was just beginning to feel at home until she was claimed by a distant relative.
The article goes on to profile other children who have faced similar hardships—a 13-year-old named Michaelle who lost both of her parents in the earthquake and resides at Frades, cooking for the younger children with whatever food she can procure.
Frades’s board members and volunteers all shared similar thoughts: that even with so many international aid groups in Haiti, sustained help is hard to find. Mattresses, latrines, showers, medical care, psycho-social counselors and, most importantly, a consistent food and water supply are profoundly limited.
Nearly six months after the earthquake, cries for help are falling on deaf ears and efforts to hasten Haiti’s reconstruction have been stalled. It is absolutely unthinkable that countless other Haitian orphans could be profiled in the New York Times six months from now.
Let’s make sure that doesn’t happen. Tell your senators to pass the Haiti Empowerment, Assistance and Rebuilding (HEAR) Act to ensure that Haitians get the long-term aid and attention they need to build a sustainable future.