Friday, January 15, 2010

Partners in Health and the crisis in Haiti

Regarding the ongoing crisis in Haiti, I recommend that people wishing to donate check out the Boston-based group Partners in Health ( PIH has been on the ground in Haiti for over two decades, has seen significant small-scale successes in its operations and aid models, and is thus in a great position to help. The group is also notable for espousing a community-centred, solidarity model of aid, not simply a top-down charity model. From the web site:

At its root, our mission is both medical and moral. It is based on solidarity, rather than charity alone. When a person in Peru, or Siberia, or rural Haiti falls ill, PIH uses all of the means at our disposal to make them well—from pressuring drug manufacturers, to lobbying policy makers, to providing medical care and social services. Whatever it takes. Just as we would do if a member of our own family—or we ourselves—were ill.

As Devin pointed out in the previous blog of the day, there is a danger that the situation in Haiti will become another case of "disaster capitalism". It's vital that groups and approaches focusing on community organizing, solidarity, and the overcoming of the crisis by Haitians themselves be given a fighting chance - especially in a situation which may all too easily degenerate into a nightmare of misery-fueled primitive accumulation.

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