Jewish World Begins Longer-Term Development in Haiti

World ORT sent two experts to Haiti to see how the organization’s expertise in education and vocational training – as well as its extensive experience of aiding post-crisis countries including Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, India and Sri Lanka – can best serve the country’s recovery.

from the World ORT blog ‘Live” from Haiti (updated February 22nd):

Saturday 20th February 2010

There are two areas that emerge as priorities to help Haitians rebuild their country: agriculture and vocational training.

Haiti is the only country in the Caribbean that suppressed the taxes on food importation. As a result, Haiti’s agricultural businesses function at a 30 percent capacity level, which led to a major rural emigration to Port-au-Prince before the disaster last month.

Now, as the country rebuilds itself, the need to improve agriculture is at the spotlight, and is being discussed among NGO representatives and international country emissaries.

Friday 19th February 2010

Everyone is living in the street. Every public area, every street corner, park or garden, has become a refugee camp – there are scores of them, some organized but more often than not spontaneously set up. Even people whose home was not destroyed are so traumatized that they prefer to live in tents rather than return to their houses. All the schools are closed and children walk the streets. And the traffic is terrible: it took one hour to drive four kilometres along one of the main thoroughfares.

from The Jerusalem Post:

Israel to set up $1.5m. school for 1,000 kids in Haiti

Amid the rubble in Haiti, Israel is planning a 1,000-student school and community center in the heart of Port-au-Prince.

Several weeks after the Israeli field hospital in Haiti was dismantled, and amid growing concern over the country’s long-term needs, officials hope to build a permanent compound – or Israeli-style village – that will include an elementary school, community center and playground. Staffed by local teachers, the compound will also house a medical clinic and rehabilitation center.

… Israeli non-governmental organizations are starting to focus on the longer-term needs of those children. Last week, a delegation from the Natan Israeli Coalition for International Humanitarian Aid set up an 800-pupil makeshift school in a large tent in Port-au-Prince. Teachers were recruited from the city’s large displaced persons camps; children found notebooks and supplies in the rubble.

… After the earthquake in Haiti, the JDC funded equipment and medicine in the IDF field hospital, ran a soup kitchen through a local partner on the outskirts of Port-au-Prince and funded the installation of more than 140 water tanks with potable water.

To date, the JDC has raised $5.5m. for relief work in Haiti and has committed $1.7m. in the first emergency relief phase, which included the shipment of seven containers full of supplies.

“The first priority with respect to our funding and our programming is the area of greatest need by the victims,” Recant said. “In this particular case, the amount of devastation, the kind of programs needed is very amenable to the idea of the Israeli village model” and its comprehensive approach “providing for various communal needs,” he said.

In fact, the idea for the Israeli village is based on a similar model constructed in Kosovo. That facility was operational for nearly three years, and included a school, mainly for orphans.

image: World ORT Representatives in Haiti viewing the completely destroyed Farah school.