The Unitarian Universalist Service Committee advances human rights through grassroots collaborations.
The Right to Self-Determination Advances Haiti’s Recovery
By UUSC Staff on August 14, 2022
Haitians themselves are leading a just recovery from overlapping crises, including rebuilding from the 7.2 magnitude earthquake that hit in August last year, reestablishing democracy and stability after President Jovenel Moïse’s assassination, stopping gender-based violence, and addressing widespread food insecurity.
Their path to a brighter future includes many obstacles as they work to rebuild their nation. Waves of gang violence and kidnapping result in daily risks to people’s safety. Large corporations and the U.S. government have a long history of predatory capitalism in the country. Even well-meaning international foundations, NGOs, and U.N. agencies have caused harm to Haitian people by profiting from a grave situation and advancing their own agenda rather than listening to and centering Haitian solutions.
These layered injustices make recovery more difficult, and when its people are continually deprived of services, safety, and their most basic rights, the conditions prompt Haitians to leave the country in search of a decent life.
That’s why UUSC’s approach to supporting Haitian-led grassroots partners prioritizes Haitian self-determination—for those in Haiti and members of the Haitian diaspora.
For example, UUSC helps to fund partner Solidarite Fanm Ayisyen/Haitian Women’s Solidarity (SOFA), a women’s organization that advocates for women’s right to health care, confronts violence against women, and fights poverty impacting women. Their work significantly reduces the disproportionate negative impacts that the earthquake and all disasters have on Haitian women and girls.
A particular focus of SOFA is assisting women in Haiti who have been displaced from their homes by corrupt land grabs—understanding that economic security and freedom from violence further drives migration out of the country. By providing women with employment opportunities, facilitating workshop trainings, and organizing mobilization meetings, SOFA is contributing to increased stability for the people of Haiti.
This is how Haiti’s future will be forged: by the talents, resilience, and courage of the Haitian people. It must be done without interference from the U.S. government and others who seek to continue the patterns of colonialism which only serve to keep Haitians from deciding their own fate. We are committed to this solidarity work with Haitians as they determine their own economic, social, and cultural development to create a better future for the nation.
Photo Credit—iStock: Leah Gordon