Greetings family and friends, and happy spring!
"You and I together, fingers of the same hand, are called to build a more human world in this new century, to bring the thumb and the little finger closer together, so the hand may be strong and whole."
- Jean-Bertrand Aristide
As you may have heard, SEE: Social Entrepreneurs for Education is committed to raising $5,000 to bring to our partner zinc-shack school in Cite Soleil, Haiti, the largest slum in the western hemisphere. All the funds we raise through our online platform, our craft-for-a-cause programs, and through other campus events at UCLA will go directly towards building renovations, school supplies, and teacher salaries, enabling 350 students to attend school for an entire year. Because education has become so highly privatized, 50% of children in Haiti have not been able to attend school regularly, if at all, through their primary-school years. SEE is striving to eradicate the notion that education is a privilege, rather ensure that it is a basic human right endowed to children worldwide; this massive inequity in opportunity needs to change and your support will ignite this needed revolution. We are reaching out you because you have either inspired us, helped us, and/or encouraged us throughout the year, and as we are getting ready to head off to Haiti in July, we are asking for your support one last time.
Chairty vs. Solidarity:
We see the charity model as a "band-aid" solution that temporarily satisfies a need, but fails to provide a sustainable structure for lasting development. We see hope and vitality within the Haitian-run grassroots organizations and stand in solidarity with their efforts to rebuild their own country. Good intentions aside, many foreign organizations on the ground don’t include Haitian input and often work within their own agendas to appease donors. Haiti is known around the world as “the Republic of NGO’s,” with over 10,000 non-governmental agencies occupying the country. Misdirected flows of aid after the quake have sustained the status quo in Haiti and the influx of donations haven’t been properly distributed. When 98% of USAID is being filtered into these NGOs (not the Haitian government or grassroots organizations) and only 10-20% of these NGO’s are submitting annual reports, lack of accountability manifests and a parallel state is created, furthering dependence. With $5.8 billion of promised aid to Haiti at the March donor’s conference in 2010, many are left wondering where the money has gone. Why are people still living in abject misery in tent cities? This is why we direct all funds to Haitian grassroots organizations, run and powered by Haitians.
A glimpse into Haiti:
Current human rights violations…
-80% of the population are living below the poverty line
-50% of the population lacks access to clean water
-60% of the population lack basic health-care services
-90% of all schools are privatized
-600,000 people still live in tents/under tarps in IDP camps in detiorating conditions
Plagued by poverty and exploitation, Haiti has been in shambles long before the 7.0 earthquake rumbled. As Junot Diaz stated “If Katrina revealed America’s third world, then the earthquake revealed the third world’s third world.” Even before the tremble, Haiti was considered to be the poorest country in the western hemisphere and has been a victim of extortion and corruption. “Hope for Haiti” isn’t a new sentiment. All Haitians have relied on this hope in order to remain resilient amidst the repeated offences. Kicking off the 18th century with their independence and a subsequent crippling debt to France, kicking off the beginning of the 20th century with a 19-year occupation by the US Marines, and kicking off the 21st century with one of several US-backed coups claiming thousands of lives, Haiti has been waiting for hope to be fulfilled with action and change. Haiti deserves justice. Haiti deserves the international community’s eyes, ears, hearts, and recognized solidarity. But more importantly, Haiti deserves a deep-rooted reconstruction that looks beyond the rubble.
We will be heading to Port-au-Prince in July and will be staying with a family of activists connected to the grassroots movement. We will be there to:
1. Deliver supplies, rainwater harvesting filters, and aid directly to our partner school and community organizations on the frontlines of serving the people.
2. Participate in the construction of a new building for the Haitian sister school, SOPUDEP, of Los Altos High School
3. Meet with a wide-range of Haitian grassroots activists and conduct an assessment on how much progress has been made by the US government, the UN Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), large NGOs, and the Haitian government in alleviating mass suffering nearly two years after the earthquake.
4. Visit Aristide’s Medical School, connect with Haitian medical students, and learn more about public health concerns—including the Cholera epidemic.
For the students attending the trip, it will be an entirely eye-opening experience and one that will be coupled with action upon return.
With all of this said, we are in need of your generosity this summer! Every dollar you donate will go straight to our partner in Haiti to provide the greatest gift possible: a proper primary education and all the opportunities that ensue. Just $10 will send a child to school for an entire year. No amount is too little.
We wish you health, happiness, and amazing spring-time weather! Please keep us in mind and check out our website for more information: www.seesolidarity.com. We at SEE always love to hear from you.
******We are also trying to get sponsorship for a deserving student who has limiting financial means for the trip. A full-time student, a law intern, and a campus leader, this student is extremely passionate about social justice and has showed unrelenting commitment to SEE. Supporting herself entirely through college, she is in need of some assistance in order to go on the trip. Please let us know if you are interested in sponsoring her. We would never want money to dictate opportunity. Thank you so much!!
INFO ABOUT SEE (For those of you whose ears we haven’t already talked off)
Founded in 2010 SEE is a student-run organization committed to bringing educational equity to the country of Haiti. By encouraging fellow social entrepreneurs to use their craft for a cause, we hope to inspire students to utilize their own passions and talents in order to raise funds for Haitian grassroots organizations. A fusion of activism, sustainable development, and ethical leadership, SEE fosters a community of solidarity and consciousness.
Kicking off our first full year at UCLA (very exciting!), SEE has implemented both internal and external education programs for fellow club members and other students on campus to both introduce creative entrepreneurial endeavors in the realm of social enterprise and to analyze Haiti’s complex history at the hands of the international community. Weekly club meetings and campus-wide events provide a collaborative learning platform for students and experts in Haiti, global advocacy, and education to exchange ideas and broaden horizons.
Throughout this year, SEE has participated in various musical events, on-campus leadership programs, and a number of community engagements. These entertaining and educational collaborations, including joining the band Radical Something at the Hummingbird Ranch Music Festival, attending Topanga Canyon Earth Day and WorldFest at UCLA, and contributing to UCLA USAC Internal Vice President Fellows, have allowed SEE to further spread Haiti’s message while also implementing our newest Craft for a Cause program with handmade earrings, bracelets, headbands, and apparel. SEE has also been a grateful recipient of the UCLA Leadershape grant.