Sunday, January 31, 2010

Helping Haiti: Our Dollars Aren't Enough

by David L. Wilson

On January 14, two days after the Port-au-Prince earthquake, I finally got a chance to look over my email, courtesy of a small Haitian NGO in a quiet, relatively undamaged neighborhood in the south of the city. After reading and answering personal messages, I noticed that a lot of my mail consisted of appeals for earthquake relief. Some messages were from people asking me to recommend ways to donate to grassroots Haitian groups.

I was moved to see how many people were eager to help, and I certainly knew how desperately Haiti needed help. Although I was in no position then to make up a list of recommendations, by the next day my colleague Jane Guskin had posted some good information. I strongly encourage people to donate to these and many other Haiti-based organizations.

At same time, I got a funny feeling reading all these notes and appeals. I found myself wondering if people would think that their dollars were enough, that making a donation meant they didn't need to do any more to help. Because if that was the case, I thought it would almost be better not to contribute to the relief effort. [...]

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