Monday, February 15, 2010

How you can help in Jacmel

Hello friends and family,

It's been a week since our arrival in Haiti. We have experienced a lot and made a lot of new friends and contacts. One of which being the "Mouvement des Etudiants du Sud 'Est pur le Soutien" or (MESS), no pun intended. MESS was formed by a group of students originally from Jacmel who were attending ten different universities in the Port au Prince area. This coalition of students, who studied a broad range of subjects from law to engineering to nursing, were all displaced due to the January 12 earthquake. In response to the disaster, the above mentioned students decided to form a coalition to provide a broad scale of assistance to disaster victims in their hometown of Jacmel, Haiti.

Despite the incredible barriers they have formed a board and delegated projects to their coalition members which include: donation distribution within the tent cities, a mobile health clinic that focuses on wound care, STI screening and vaccinations. They have also initiated public health interventions and outreach surrounding issues of hygiene and sanitation, STI and HIV prevention, mental health grievance counseling and primary health care.

A longer term project that is now in the works is a survey they have created to assess the needs of individual families living in tent cities in the Jacmel area. This survey would be used to identify and meet the specific needs of each family affected by the earthquake. Currently, the way goods and services have been distributed has been highly problematic. For example, a truck of random supplies has created an uneven and haphazard enviroment for tent city residents including eruptions of violence over basic survival needs and tension between familiies who have more resources than others. This survey is an attempt at distributing goods and services more evenly to to better serve the community.

MESS has prepared a proposal including an itemized budget of which we have a copy of. Some of the items included are office supplies and photocopy fees to conduct the surveys. They also need megaphones, DJ equipment and a video projector to be used as outreach tools. By purchasing the goods here in Haiti, it helps to stimulate the local economy, crucial at this moment in time.

We are establishing a paypal account to link up to our blog to help fundraise for projects including MESS. Please feel free to donate what you can and to forward our blog far and wide. So far, there are a fundraisers being organized but many more will be needed. If you are interested in organizing a fundraiser in your area please contact us at:

Our goal is to raise $3,500 USD to contribute to their larger goal of $11,ooo USD. Thank you all for your support in our solidarity efforts with MESS. Please keep Haiti in your thoughts as they begin to rebuild.

We have just created our paypal account so please wait to send your donations for 5 business days from today. If you have any questions you can write us at the above mentioned email or post a comment on this blog.

- Ivy, Jerry and Waffle

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