Responding to the Quake From the Ground Up
Since the earthquake of January 12, 2010, the Aristide Foundation for Democracy has mobilized its staff, doctors, volunteers on the ground, and supporters inside and outside Haiti to respond to this disaster. We:
At least 6000 people are now sheltering in and around the dormitories on the campus of the Medical School of the Aristide Foundation–in the first few weeks after the quake getting food and water to them was a daily challenge. We are now working with other aid organizations to create temporary housing solutions for these people.
Fielded Mobile Clinics
Since the quake a group of 54 Cuban and Haitian doctors attached to the Foundation have been providing emergency medical care to the injured. Beginning in early March we began weekly large scale clinics inside the auditorium of the AFD. These clinics offered primary health care services to 1,200 people a week on average.
AFD is also collaborating with Partners in Health/Zanmi Lasante in fielding mobile clinics to refugee camps. A total of 30 AFD doctors and 60 young AFD volunteers are participating in regular medical clinics out into some of the largest refugee camps, including at the Parc Jean Marie Vincent where approximately 15,000 people are camped out. We also hosted PIH volunteers and staff who have camped on the grounds of the AFD after the quake.
Organized Mobile Schools
An estimated 90% of the schools in Port-au-Prince were destroyed in the earthquake. Tens of thousands of children are living in refugee camps and the international relief effort and the Haitian government have has failed to provide temporary or long-term housing. In February 2010, to offer organized activities, contact with caring adults, and some continuation of basic schooling, AFD launched a Mobile Schools project. We recruited 102 high school and college graduates to serve as teachers, and coordinated with families and organizing committees in five refugee camps to build shelters where classes were held.
Classes for over 1200 children —three hours a day, five days a week—began the week of February 22.
Open-air classrooms ran five days a week at five locations: Building 2004/Parc Jean-Marie Vincent, Carradeux (the encampment near the student dormitories of the Medical School of the AFD), Fontamara 27, Nazon, and Tapage (in Tabarre).
This project was funded by the Haiti Emergency Relief Fund and we are very grateful for their solidarity and support.
As regular schools began to reopen slowly across the metropolitan area (mostly in make shift facilities) we began to look for ways to continue to be in the camps working with children. The program came to an end over the summer, but teachers and parents at three of the mobile schools banded together to keep the schools open and we are supporting their efforts to make these schools permanent.
Serving as a Bridge to the Larger Relief Effort
Finally, we are working to serve where possible as a bridge between the larger relief effort and the popular movement in Haiti. We are working with Partners in Health, CARE, the Turkish Red Crescent, the Haitian Ministry of Health, among others, trying to channel aid to the vast network of organizations, neighborhood groups and people who make up the popular movement in Haiti, to whom we remain closely bonded, and for whom the continued presence of the Aristide Foundation is a symbol of hope.