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Haiti

Something not many people know about me is that I've had a lifelong fascination with Haiti. I think it started in elementary school, when we read about slavery, and the story of the slaves rising up and becoming an independent nation led by black people for black people just really galvanized me and moved me. I've read so much fiction and nonfiction about the country, its people, and the horrible, sordid recent past, and I have always wanted to visit there. Yes, despite everything about its wretched politics and treatment of its impoverished citizens. I've wanted to go there as a volunteer to do something for the people, not as a tourist, and a part of me wishes right now that I could find a way to get money to go down there right now and somehow get my hands dirty and help.

But I'm not a trained emergency volunteer. All I can do is signal boost. Everyone knows about the Red Cross, but there's another group that, if you have any money at all to give, I'd like to point you to, called Mercy Corps, which I did some PR writing for as an intern when they first started. They kind of stuck with me -- they're very well organized, there's not much bloat on top so your money primarily goes for causes rather than overhead, and they've been all around the world. And they're located in Portland, Oregon, so they're dear to my Northwestern heart. There's also the wonderful Medicins Sans Frontieres/Doctors Without Borders.

I'm also going to link to something most of you have heard of already, but I think bears repeating: help_haiti. I love that fandom always immediately comes through with ways to try to help people in emergencies -- this image of people who are losers living in their parents' basements gets put down by real action. I'm trying to figure out what I might be able to do right away here; I hope you'll join me.

ETA: Something that a lot of people don't know about but that I'm going to be doing is donating miles on an airline through their charity mileage program. You can donate certain amounts and the airline will usually have a list on their charity miles page of the organizations they offer them to. If you don't have money but do have some miles on your airline program, that can be a really good way to help.

Comments

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cesperanza
Jan. 13th, 2010 11:30 pm (UTC)
Thank you for the link to Mercy Corps: I am always looking for charities that people have a personal connection with and can vouch for. :)
elz
Jan. 14th, 2010 03:45 am (UTC)
I just noticed that Amazon has a donate link to Mercy Corps on their front page - dropping them some money now.
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