Two years ago January 12, the world could only watch as one of the worst natural disasters in living memory struck our brothers and sisters in Haiti. According to the Haitian government, over 230,000 people died as a result of that magnitude 7.0 earthquake, 300,000 more were injured and over 1,000,000 were left homeless. Today, over 500,000 people live in make-shift refugee camps across Haiti, and though these “tent cities” might provide some protection from the elements, they have become breeding grounds for disease and violence against women and girls. Since the earthquake, women and girls throughout Haiti have been at a heightened risk for sexual assault.
On January 12, 2010 we lost friends, loved ones, and allies, and it is in their memory that we must continue to help those that survived rebuild, renew, and reclaim their country and their lives. Activists on the ground are doing incredible work, and V-Day is so proud to be supporting these inspirational women and men. Through the two-year V-Day Spotlight Campaign on the Women & Girls of Haiti, V-Day activists around the world continue to raise awareness and funds to support a revolutionary national program in Haiti lead by a coalition of women activists – including longtime V-Day activist and AFASDA founder Elvire Eugene – that is addressing sexual violence through art, advocacy, safe shelter, and legal services. Many steps have already been taken towards a new and bright future for Haiti where women and girls are safe, however the work is only just beginning, the need for awareness and funds is as great today as it ever has been, as Elvire explains:
“Two years after the earthquake on January 12, 2010 that ravaged Haiti, some half a million people are still living in filthy tent cities where cholera and sexual violence runs rampant. In recent months, there has been a shift in international aid, moving from the “humanitarian phase” to the “recovery and reconstruction phase.” While we admire the great victories that this phase has lead to including the creation of 300,000 temporary jobs with 40% going to women, and the removal of 50% of the debris which equals about five million cubic meters – enough to fill five soccer stadiums – it is important to remember the needs of the survivors. AFASDA wants to thank the parents, victims, survivors, and all people & organizations like V-Day who with determination continue to help the women and girls of Haiti. With this help, we have an opportunity to truly rebuild a new society, a new nation.
GOD bless HAITI and our Friends.”