As the days have passed and the images of the continued suffering of the people of Haiti have flashed before our eyes in the United States, I can’t help but wonder how the children of Haiti are being impacted throughout this catastrophe. A child’s perception of the world, especially young children thrust into a traumatic situation, is exponentially a more vivid and visceral experience than an adult. At such a young age kids do not possess the mental fortitude to comprehend such devastation. Instead, these images potentially become internalized and manifest themselves as the source of nightmares for years to come, especially for those directly involved. Without question, Haitl’s children will require constant attention and reassurance in order to weather these troubling times. The future of Haiti depends on their ability to endure.
As parents here in the United States, it’s important to provide our children with the opportunity to help others. Hope transcends tragedy if one can summon the collective will and strength to carry on. You can teach your child what it means to be human. A lesson that will reap rewards for a lifetime.
Below are some ideas on ways your child can help the children of Haiti:
- Write letters or make cards with well wishes. If your child attends school, this could be a class project.
- Pack canned food or collect clothing at a local drop off point.
- Make monetary donations. Maybe contribute some money from their piggy banks.
- Learn the geography and history of Haiti. Knowledge leads to understanding.
Resources for Monetary Donations
The American Red Cross – is pledging an initial $200,000 to assist communities impacted by the earthquake, and is accepting donations through its International Response Fund. By texting the word “Haiti” to 90999, Red Cross donors will be giving $10 to relief efforts (the charge will appear on their phone bills).
CARE – With an active presence in Haiti since 1954, CARE’s work there focuses on HIV/AIDS, reproductive health, maternal and child health, education, food security, and water and sanitation.
Catholic Relief Services (CRS) – CRS has more than 50 years of experience in Haiti and currently serves some 200,000 of the poorest and most marginalized Haitians in the areas of health and nutrition, education, water and sanitation, HIV/AIDS, agriculture, peace building and migration.
Oxfam – With a staff of 200, including a 15-member emergency response team, Oxfam International brings expertise in water, sanitation and public health in Haiti, as well as local knowledge and community networks established over the past decade.
PLAN – Having worked in Haiti since 1973, PLAN currently implements child-centered community development programs featuring Health, Education for Girls and Boys, HIV/AIDS, and the Rights of the Child.
Save the Children – Having worked in Haiti since 1985, primarily in Port-au-Prince and the Central Plateau region, Save the Children provides health, education, protection and food security programs to vulnerable children.
ReliefWeb – a United Nations website providing up-to-date information as well as data and documents on the earthquake.
AlertNet – run by the Reuters Foundation, provides news, information and analysis on the earthquake response.
Investing in Disaster Response – More Resources & information on how people can donate to Haiti earthquake relief efforts.