Best Photos Around the World

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Bell Afterschool Program Raised Awareness for Haiti


What can you do at your camp, school, group or after school program?

Kids at the Bell After School Program in Massachusetts put their time and talents to good use making bracelets and key chains to raise awareness and funds to help Haiti. They raised $75 which can go a long way in a country where the average yearly income is only $1,300. Many people in Haiti work all day long and earn only $2. That is less that the price of an ice cream cone in the United States. We want to thank all the kids who participated at the Bell Program.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

GHESKIO

Students learn new construction techniques at GHESKIO's vocational school.

Students at GHESKIO's vocational school.

Students learn how to build a solid foundation at GHESKIO's vocational school.

Doctors and staff at Les Centres GHESKIO.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Miami Herald: Haiti’s Coffee Market Receives a Welcomed Jolt


"We are interested in helping out planters improve their lives. There is a transformation happening." - Robinson Nelson, manager of COOPCAB

Haitian coffee is once again becoming a hot commodity. With a loan from Clinton Bush Haiti Fund partner Root Capital, COOPCAB coffee cooperative is able to provide for growing international demand while ensuring farmers receive a fair price for their work. As Fritz Francois, President of COOPCAB, explains, "It is almost impossible to find someone today in Thiotte cutting down a tree to make charcoal. Today, because coffee has a price, the farmers are motivated and they are leaving the trees because to cultivate coffee you need shade."

Read more about the changing Haitian coffee market, and how our support to organizations like Root Capital is helping Haitians thrive.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

AP: Bringing Home Loans to Haitians for the First Time


The Clinton Bush Haiti Fund has pledged $3M in support of the mortgage facility being set up by the Development Innovations Group, a program that will also be financed by OPIC and the Haitian Reconstruction Fund (HRF).

Clinton Bush Haiti Fund CEO Gary Edson recognizes the value of access to mortgages in Haiti. "We're particularly attracted by this initative because it targets the economically active poor. We found that this market has not been served."

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Haitians Take Arduous Path to Brazil, and Jobs

A woman carried plastic flowers near the Marché Hyppolite, which was rebuilt by the Digicel Foundation.

BRASILÉIA, Brazil — Of the odyssey that delivered him to this town in the Brazilian Amazon, Wesley Saint-Fleur could muster only a look of exhaustion and bewilderment.

Months ago, he boarded a bus in Haiti, before getting on a plane in the Dominican Republic, landing first in Panama and then in Ecuador. That was where his wife gave birth to their son, Isaac, he said, bouncing the 4-month-old infant on his knee and brandishing the boy’s Ecuadorean identification card. Then they continued by bus yet again, through Ecuador and Peru. Next, they trekked by foot in Bolivia, where, he said, the police robbed him and his wife of their clothing and their life savings: $320 in cash.

“Then we finally got to Brazil, which I’m told is building everything, stadiums, dams, roads,” said Mr. Saint-Fleur, 27, a construction worker, one of hundreds of Haitians who gather each day around the gazebo in Brasiléia’s palm-fringed plaza. “All I want is work, and Brazil, thank God, has jobs for us.”

Gambling everything, thousands of Haitians have made their way across the Americas to reach small towns in the Brazilian Amazon over the past year in a desperate search for work, including a surge of hundreds arriving in recent days amid fears that Brazil’s government could slow the influx before it overwhelms the authorities here.

Their improbable journeys — from the rubble of their island homes to remote outposts here in the Amazon — say as much about the dire economic conditions that persist in Haiti two years after the earthquake as it does about the rising economic profile of Brazil, which is fast becoming a magnet not only for poor foreign laborers but also for growing numbers of educated professionals from Europe, the United States and Latin America.

Upon arriving here and in other border outposts, the Haitians are often given vaccinations, clean water and two meals a day by the authorities. Many stay for weeks in Brasiléia and other towns before being granted humanitarian visas that allow them to work in Brazil.

But with such a crush of new arrivals, others have not been so lucky. After traveling thousands of miles and overcoming countless obstacles, some crowd eight to a small hotel room or wind up sleeping on the streets, almost reliving the misery they had hoped to leave behind.

“I cannot allow the sadness to take over, since opportunity will follow this hard phase,” said Simonvil Cenel, 33, a tailor awaiting a visa who leads animated evangelical prayer services for those stuck in limbo after enduring so much to get here.

About 4,000 Haitians have immigrated to Brazil since the 2010 earthquake, often going first through Ecuador, a poorer country with lax visa policies. Brazil has made an exception for Haitians in contrast to job-seekers from nations like Pakistan, India and Bangladesh, who arrive via similar Amazonian routes but are usually expelled.

“Haiti is recovering from an extreme period of crisis, and Brazil is in a position to help these people,” said Valdecir Nicácio, a human rights official in the state of Acre, encompassing Brasiléia. “Before getting here, they are at the mercy of human traffickers,” he said. “Brazil is big enough to absorb Haitians who just want jobs.”

With the number of Haitians sharply increasing in recent days, the authorities in Brasiléia and Tabatinga, a border city in Amazonas State, have warned of the strains of trying to feed and house the Haitians while visa applications are reviewed. Federal officials have responded by sending tons of food for the Haitians, who currently number more than 1,000 in each border settlement.

Dealing with an immigration crisis on its border is a new dilemma for Brazil, which until recently was more concerned with the outflow of its own citizens seeking opportunities in rich industrialized countries than responding to the arrival of thousands of impoverished foreigners.

Though economic growth has recently slowed in Brazil, unemployment remains at a historic low of 5.2 percent, and many companies have trouble finding enough workers to fill vacancies. Wages have also climbed for those at the lowest rung of the job market, with the income of poor Brazilians growing seven times as much as the income of rich Brazilians from 2003 to 2009.