Groups Overcome Challenges

To Help Haiti's Storm Victims

 

Miami Herald- Letters to the Editor

Sat, Sep. 20, 2008

 

The Lambi Fund of Haiti is disappointed that crops destroyed by the hurricanes will not be harvested. Haitian farmers will not reap the benefits of their labor. We have worked with Haiti's rural communities for 14 years supporting peasant and farmer initiatives in the Artibonite Valley and in rural areas surrounding Les Cayes that have been severely affected by the hurricanes.

 

Our mission is to support sustainable development projects in Haiti's rural communities. Our work has had an impact on more than one million people; we have supported construction of irrigation canals, acquisition of irrigation pumps, construction of grain mills and the development of fish farms. We have funded animal-husbandry projects and microcredit programs for farmers and merchants. We have also implemented environmental and reforestation initiatives.

 

We are poised to support our rural partners' efforts as they rebuild their lives and communities. We will first help our partners get food and essentials, such as household items and school uniforms. We also will assist members of our staff, residents of these communities, who have lost everything.

 

We will offer emergency assistance and work to stimulate the local economy and the cultivation of cash crops. Local merchants, primarily women, will have access to funds from recapitalized microcredit initiatives enabling them to replenish their stock and resume commercial activities.

 

We will buy seeds and tools to cultivate devastated farmlands. We will support the acquisition of new irrigation pumps. In one community, we will rebuild an irrigation system. We will provide funds for farmers to buy goats, pigs and chickens and to replenish livestock. We will ensure access to safe drinking water by repairing the rainwater cisterns we helped build.

 

Even within the context of emergency relief, we can begin to lay the foundations that will support Haitian farmers' efforts to become self-sustaining.

 

Leonie M. Hermantin, Deputy Director, Lambi Fund of Haiti, Miami