Who knows best? This is a question that Peacebuilding Solutions asked, and the answer is clear: people in the communities we serve. Refugees and IDPs deserve the right to determine their own futures, just like anyone else. PS wants to make sure that the aid we provide to communities is aid that has been specifically requested and is necessary for the community to grow and survive.
We do this by partnering with communities. In Haiti, we’ve partnered with the LDJ community and with an organization dedicated to helping LDJ’s population regain control of their lives.
Jhonson, one of our close contacts in Haiti, began working with the LDJ community after seeing what poor conditions the community was forced to live in. LDJ is made up of Haitians displaced following the 2010 Haitian earthquake – many of whom are children.
“The government forgot about them.” Jhonson says of the LDJ community. The community faced unemployment rates of over 90%, and with no jobs and no aid, people struggled to get by. Children were just as affected – the majority of them did not attend school. There wasn’t even a place for the community to get free water, let alone access to services like healthcare.
This is where PS came in. We partnered with Jhonson and with the community to identify the needs in the camp. Community leaders asked for rainwater collectors and for shoes for their children. They also needed tarps for their shelters. Those items were bought in Haiti and hired community members installed and distributed them.
There is still work to do, though, as Jhonson points out. Refugees are going “2 or 3 days without food, sometimes more.” He says. And, because there are no free clinics, refugees don’t go to the hospital because they don’t have the money to pay. In many ways, “Haitian refugees are [living] in the worst life situation ever”, says Jhonson. “If it wasn’t for Peacebuilding Solutions, they would’ve been forgotten.”
So what can you do to help change life for the LDJ community?
Right now, the community is in desperate need of tarps. The tarps provide shelter from the Haitian weather. Donating just $10 will help Jhonson get the LDJ community the tarps they need.
You can also make a longer term commitment to the work that PS does. For just $1 a day, you will be supporting an organization that believes that communities should have the loudest voice in how aid is delivered. You will support individuals as they identify their needs.
At PS, we want refugees and IDPs to regain control of their lives. Your support enables us to do this – and to make sure that the people who know best are the ones making the decisions that affect their lives.
As for Jhonson, he has one simple wish for the LDJ community:
“My hopes and dreams for LDJ Community is for the population at the community to be at peace.”