NEW YORK -- It was just six months ago that the devastating Jan. 12 earthquake struck Haiti and five-year-old Ngo. Yele Haiti moved the work of repairing and restoring the nation from that disaster to the top of its agenda. Wyclef Jean, founder of Yele Haiti, in a series of national opinion pieces coinciding with the anniversary, is making strong calls to action to those who can help as the conditions in Haiti worsen. Jean is asking the Interim Haiti Recovery Commission to release $150 million of pledged funds in the next 90 days to carry out coherent public safety and security plans addressing current violence, kidnappings, abductions, rapes and sexual abuse rampant in the most vulnerable communities. He is also asking the commission to release an additional $150 million for rubble removal.
"I'm a warrior and can't stand by quietly while promises aren't kept. I won't ever surrender," said Jean. "We've seen the situation, and we've been listening to others on the ground. It's still bleak. Rubble and collapsed buildings are everywhere." Also, in the next 120 days Jean would like to see the commission's leaders, the United Nations and former Presidents Bush and Clinton commit themselves to collecting the billions of dollars pledged by the international community to the Haitian relief effort, making sure those promises are converted into actual cash, to ensure Haiti's infrastructure is rebuilt and the country is on track for a new destiny.
Yele Haiti is working on long-term goals that will require hands-on effort for years to come. The organization's initiatives, such as sustainable housing, schools, health clinics and agricultural communities, are well under way and will allow Haitians to one day flourish independently. Yele Haiti also continues to provide vital support to Haitians with daily supplies of water and food to communities hit the hardest by the earthquake. Working alongside community leaders in 34 tent camps across the country, Yele Haiti understands the immediate needs of the people better than any other organization on the ground.
Other new programs of Yele Haiti include:
Yele Vert. Yele Haiti partnered with Timberland this year to launch a tree-planting program called Yele Vert. The first 100,000 trees have been planted with the help of local farmers. (The country currently has less than 2 percent tree cover.) This month, the program will expand to six nurseries that will grow 1 million trees a year. Yele and Timberland are also supplying farmers with seed, fertilizer, tools and training to improve their crop yields.
Yele Corps. This program was created to help provide jobs to nearly 1,000 people each day for months to come. The program not only employs local people but also provides them with the vocational training they need for a better future. The Corps participate in clean-up projects throughout the country and serve on teams that distribute aid and materials provided by Yele.
Housing. In addition to the distribution of tents and tarps mentioned above, Yele Haiti completed construction of two model temporary 12-by-12 wood-frame houses, which can be seen at its headquarters in La Plaine. The organization is committed to building the first 100 units in the Croix-des-Bouquets area.
Yele Clinic. Yele Haiti is building a medical clinic that will provide primary and multi-specialty health care, with a central triage process to quickly direct incoming patients according to need. The clinic will provide a family practice program, including pediatrics, gynecology/obstetrics (pregnancy, childbirth and postnatal care) and infectious-disease care, along with minor surgery and physical therapy/rehabilitation. In addition, psychological counseling will be provided. Construction of the clinic began in April in two geodesic domes (each 44 feet in diameter) installed at Yele headquarters in La Plaine.
ABOUT YELE HAITI
In 2005, Grammy Award-winning musician, humanitarian and good will ambassador to Haiti Wyclef Jean founded Yele Haiti. It is a grassroots movement that has built global awareness for Haiti while helping to sustain the country through its short-term emergency relief efforts and long-term programs in education, job creation, environment preservation, sports and the arts. Yele Haiti is a U.S.–based nonprofit charitable organization with tax-exempt 501(c)3 status. For more information, please visitwww.yele.org.