Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Haiti Trip: Day Three

On our last full day in Haiti, we took time to do some sight-seeing in Port-Au-Prince and Petion-ville.

We drove around in downtown Port-Au-Prince where you can still see the crumbled remains of the National Palace and the cathedral. There are camps facing the National Palace. One of the biggest camps is in Champs de Mars which is in close proximity to the National Palace.

We were excited to shop for art in Petion-ville. There were lots of beautiful paintings depicting life in Haiti lining the streets while their creators stood by, hoping that the tourists would see the beauty that these talented artists hope will never be forgotten.

Seeing beautiful views of Haiti from the mountaintops of Petion-ville and being in the presence of families of tourists and Japanese UN soldiers reminded us that even though we come from different backgrounds, we can still be together as human beings to appreciate a beautiful view like this.

Our time in Haiti was short, but our experience on this trip will stay in our memories and hearts forever. We look forward to continue working in Haiti and seeing more of this beautiful country in the future.

Haiti Trip: Day Two

We woke up really excited to do our project. We went to tent camps not too far from where we were staying.

TEF Team in Haiti

In both tent camps we visited, there was a system worked out to distribute items, but more discussion took place on how to ensure equitable distribution of items. We were surprised by the order in the camps. People gathered around us respectfully. We explained what we brought and how many items would go to each family. Regine, one of our team members, demonstrated what was in the kits and trained the residents on how to use the items in the kits. The camp leaders/residents welcomed us, offered us chairs (just as if we were visiting there house), and thanked us. 

Camp 1

Camp 2

Our team, felt happy and blessed that we could help. We understand that the camps residents need help in many ways, but we sensed their gratitude---to not be forgotten, to know that people still cared and wanted to help. 

Check out www.theempowerfoundation.org to learn more about The Empower Foundation and Safety Kits Project.

Haiti Trip: Day One

We arrived in Port-au-Prince, Haiti to 90° weather.  We were welcomed by a group of Haitian singers and musicians who perform for all of the travelers arriving at the airport. After collecting our things, we met with our aunt who then drove us to where we were staying.

The roads were dusty and bumpy as a result of the January 2010 earthquake, and the conditions of the roads have worsened since then.  In many areas, the streets of Port-au-Prince were filled with trash, rubble and dust. Due to a lack of waste management, some residents resolved to burn small piles of garbage. On the drive, we saw many tent camps interspersed in both residential and non residential areas. Seeing the tent camps quickly reminded us about the mission of our trip – the Safety Kits Project.

 We spent the evening of the first day sorting the items for the next day’s distribution. Along with contributions received for the Safety Kits Project, The Empower Foundation received donations of toothbrushes, soap, toothpaste, and combs to distribute in the tent camps.

The plan for Day 2 is to visit two tent camps in Delmas, close to where we are staying. Prior to our arrival, our aunt and uncle went to the individual camps ahead of time and spoke with the residents to find out who runs the camp. They spoke with camp leaders to find out how many families were living in the camps.

The larger camp will receive: 90 safety kits (1 kit per family), 272 bars of soap (3 bars per family), ~40 toothbrushes, 15-20 tubes of toothpaste. The smaller camp will receive: 70 safety kits (1 kit per family), 216 (3 bars per family), ~40 toothbrushes, 15-20 tubes of toothpaste.

Check out some picture below from Day 1 of our Haiti trip. 


Check out www.theempowerfoundation.org to learn more about The Empower Foundation and Safety Kits Project.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

‘Tis the Season of Giving

This Thanksgiving, we at The Empower Foundation are grateful to be able to help protect women and girls combat sexual violence in Haiti’s tent camps.

In November 2010, we began the Safety Kits project (click here to read more) to help women and girls living in Haiti’s tent camps protect themselves from sexual violence which has risen since the earthquake of January 12, 2010. The goal of this project is to help these women and girls by providing them with tools and training that will empower them to protect themselves, seek help, and be heard.

With help and donations from our supporters, The Empower Foundation is able to bring this project to life.  Our Team was able to assemble 200 Safety Kits consisting of a simple pouch with a battery-free flashlight, a safety whistle, and a resource card with safety tips written in Haitian Creole & French. This Winter, our Team will make its first Safety Kits distribution in Haiti and help 200 women & girls!

Please check out a video about the Safety Kits project from Kareen Riviere, our founder and executive director.

This holiday season, please help make a difference in the life of a woman or girl in Haiti’s tent camps. Check out www.theempowerfoundation.org to find out ways you can help!