A recent article from Mountain Xpress featured Consider Haiti and our efforts to help the families and children impacted by Hurricane Matthew in Haiti. Below you will find a portion of the article that includes our organization, Consider Haiti. To read the entire article, click here.
By: Lorin Mallorie
Asheville rallied to support Haiti after the 2010 earthquake, investing in ongoing relief and development projects headed by local organizations. Last month, however, Hurricane Matthew became the first Category 4 storm since 1964 to make landfall on the island.
Nearly seven years after the quake, it’s no secret that the multibillion-dollar aid response did little to help Haiti rebuild. In fact, the “humanitarian aftershocks” devastated the nation, triggering a range of harmful albeit unintended consequences.
Asheville understands that sustainability and buying local are crucial parts of protecting a growing culture, and translates those ideas in Haiti as well. By consistently working on the groundin Haiti, supporting its communities and local commerce, Asheville-based organizations continue leading the charge for a new, empowering approach: solidarity, not charity.
“The good news is, all staff and families in our programs survived. But we lost homes and livestock in the mountains, so we will need to rebuild.”
— Asheville resident Todd Kaderabek
For more than 15 years, Asheville’s Consider Haiti has pioneered self-sustaining development by supporting local teams to implement community medical care, nutrition and clean water programs. Focused on Montrouis, a coastal section of western Haiti’s central plateau, the organization has one objective: promoting the health and welfare of children in Haiti.
Hurricane Matthew left an estimated 1.4 million Haitians in need of food assistance, according to a recently released report by the government of Haiti and the United Nations.
“The farm in Montrouis is a mess. An 8-foot storm surge took out the front gate, and water covered the entire place,” board President Todd Kaderabek, an Asheville real estate agent, said just days after the hurricane’s initial impact. “Lots of trees are down, the nursery is gone, the crops are gone. Again, we will rebuild.”
The storm destroyed an estimated $538 million worth of crops and productive infrastructure, according to the Haitian government and the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization.
“I am hoping the grassroots connection between Asheville and Haiti, and helping spread and share the love, will become Asheville’s best export,” says Ashleigh Stoia, Consider Haiti’s public relations representative. “We know our message will resonate with Ashevilleans who really want to make a long-term difference.”
Homes, crops and goats were lost. “The gate of the farm was torn off by the wind, and we had to lift and retain it by ropes,” community health agent Eddy Prophete reported. “The wind ripped a lot of banana trees, and the ocean flooded the frontage road.”
Two dozen goats were lost in the storm. With a herd of more than 700, Kaderabek said it would quickly replenish. In the meantime, howver, “It’s a day-to-day livelihood removed from many families.”
In 2010, Kaderabek told Mountain Xpress that the organization’s goal was to make its operations in Haiti obsolete. “We want to empower Haitians to become independent of any and all aid: We want them to be self-sufficient.”