HANDS TOGETHER HAS WORKED OVER THE LAST 25 YEARS TO HELP IMPROVE THE LIVES OF PEOPLE LIVING IN THE POOREST OF POOR CONDITIONS IN HAITI, AND, AFTER THE RECENT EARTHQUAKE, THEIR WORK IS NEEDED THERE NOW MORE THAN EVER
“All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.” ~Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Dr. King’s words are inspiration for the work being done by Hands Together, a non-profit organization that works to improve the lives of Haiti’s poor so they may live with dignity. Hands Together volunteers are, and have been, “boots on the ground” in Haiti in one form or another for the past 25 years. You will find a first hand account of what happened in Haiti on the day of the earthquake, Hands Together’s response to it and their recovery plan on the Hands Together website.
Hands Together was born of a single service trip to Haiti in 1985, when Father Tom Hagan, O.S.F.S., who was serving as chaplain to Lafayette and Moravian Colleges in Pennsylvania, led a group of students on a visit to Haiti. The history of Hands Together is rich and its accomplishments many despite the years of violence and natural disasters that have threatened to shut them down.
Its vision is the hope that not only will the people of Haiti benefit from the tireless efforts of its volunteers who work to help the poor become free and live dignified lives through education, clean water, and health care, but that the volunteers return to their own community with the ability to identify its needs with a renewed sense of compassion and desire to fulfill those needs.
One can not help but be inspired and feel moved to serve after reading the following Hands Together vision message:
We hope that members of Hands Together work passionately to build a more compassionate and human world; that Hands Together’s workers will be known for their tenderness and mercy, especially toward the poor; that people will visit our projects and experience the beauty and goodness of the people they encounter; that our volunteers will assess the needs of their own communities with a renewed sense of compassion, and search for ways to respond respectfully to help others; that the families who live in Haiti’s desert villages will be healthy, that the people in the slums of Port-au-Prince will drink clean water; that everyone in Haiti will have access to education; that in the poorest communities, Hands Together helps people use their resources so that they become free and live dignified lives; and we hope that the people of Haiti will be able to build a strong community with their friends from Hands Together and exchange ideas in order to improve their quality of life.
Following are concrete goals set by Hands Together to give you an idea of the work being done to carry out its vision:
- 15 school campuses with 11,000 students
- Emergency Intervention
- Spontaneous charity to poorest of the poor
- Response to disasters
- Nutrition – Health
- Daily meals to 11,000 students, staff and elderly
- Canteens for children ages 2-7
- Medical outreach through 2 clinics
- Sustainable Development
- Water well and irrigation drilling
- Agricultural promotion through Bassen Center & Clarke Farm & Environment Protection
- Employment for 500 people
If you find some time to peruse the Hands Together website over the weekend, please do and think about donating what you can to this worthwhile effort. Hands Together has received a four star rating from Charity Navigator for the past four years. Charity Navigator is one of the leading Charity watchdog and assessment organizations.
And, remember…Feed Your Good Dog, so your good dog always wins!
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Debra Stokes says
Excellent information. I especially appreciate that this organization has had a presence in Haiti well before the disaster. Never heard of Charity Navigator, either – more good information.
Thanks Debra! Exactly what we thought…that Hands Together has a great deal of time already in Haiti and able to mobilize quickly and put resources in the best possible places.