We turn on the television or surf the net and we are greeted by the devastation of the Haitian earthquake. We have all seen their hollow faces, sitting on the street, the children looking around with a penetrating sadness in their eyes. We don’t know their stories, but we feel pity and stop momentarily. I’ve paused and felt sadness and then without hesitation returned to my normal, suburban life. I’ve done this at least many times in my life, through events like the Southeast Asia tsunami and Hurricane Katrina.
On January 11 when news of the earthquake first hit the media, I felt the same pity, but still returned to making dinner for my family. In one ear, though, I listened, as the reporters stated that almost 50,000 Haitians may be dead, even more missing, and that the country was already on the brink of disaster.
I listened, and like most people, I want to help, but I don’t know how. I am limited by my own circumstances, my own family and my own selfishness. I am not going to get on a plane and fly to Haiti to offer my services. I don’t have any skills that could be useful to people in this type of crisis. So I had my own crisis of conscience – Do I just do nothing?
I know inaction is the easy way out. Because it is not happening to me or my loved ones, it doesn’t exist. But it does exist. It exists a million times over everywhere in the world. I’ve been pondering the consequences of doing nothing. I know it is not acceptable. So I’ve decided that, when you can’t volunteer your time, your skills, the very least you can do is to donate your money. Even a small donation may reach out to someone. I am in a fortunate situation where I know someone who is going on a plane and flying to Haiti to offer her medical services. I know that my donation to her will get to the right people or it may not, but I have to make that leap of faith. We sometimes, as crooked as our perceptions are about donating money, have to put our faith in something beyond ourselves and at least attempt to help in whatever way we can.
So as a collective show of support, I will be donating on behalf of everyone who leaves a comment on this post through January 18th. I know some of you will not be inclined to leave a comment, but please do. I don’t have all of the answers so please let me know your thoughts on how to best help those in need.
I can tell you that I have felt the same way at times but like you mentioned the best thing is to donate money. I almost had the opportunity to join the Emergency Nursing Association group that it was staffing an military boat but due to timing I was unable to go.
Living in Montreal I met many people from Haiti and one of my best friends is from Haiti. Her uncles still live there and in this occasion her sister was in a plane at the airport while the earthquake shook the city.
Ted and I have donated to the Red Cross but here are other organization that anyone can donate money.
Doctors Without Borders: http://www.moveon.org/r?r=86019&id=18575-8542882-U3BFu0x&t=1
Oxfam America: http://www.moveon.org/r?r=85998&id=18575-8542882-U3BFu0x&t=2
Yéle Haiti: Yéle Haiti: http://www.moveon.org/r?r=86026&id=18575-8542882-U3BFu0x&t=3
u r a noble human being as ur heart bleeds for haiti
or for any other disaster in this world.
whether ur act of charity will reach out to the affected is a matter of concern.if at all it reaches that person it wont be enough either,u cant change their fate and suffering but atleast ur thought of doing that is appreciable and i feel really proud of you.
money is such an irresistible thing but i think they need grains and medicines more right now.
i had bitter experiences during a quake in 1992,all the aid which we med students collected never reached the affected zone.some middlemen usurped it all much to our dismay.
hand delivered aid is the best u can do under such circumstances,as of now, leave it to the divine powers and pray for the affected people.
by the way,bhopal victims are yet to receive full compensation even after 25 years!
Hey Rudriben , This was a very tragic/sad and heart breaking natural disaster ..R.I.P for those who lost their lives..
I donated thorough this website ..if anybody is interested please kindly help in any way you can..
Thank you Kindly
I have been in the same boat. The sad state of affairs in Haiti have made me question my faith in a lot of things. Again, I don’t know how I can help other than giving a monetary donation so we did make a donation to Unicef. Hope you and yours are doing well.
what a wonderful idea you have. I agree with donating with what you can, skills, money all is important and equal. You have a wonderful heart.
As always, you are doing a thoughtful, generous thing. What a great role model you are for all of us!
That was beautiful and so true. I gave to UNICEF but just heard a story that made it “personal”….my friend’s adoptive baby boy was waiting on final papers so my friend could go pick him up. He is alive but the orphanage is unlivable. They have 114 kids and no where safe to take them. I will be donating money there and I hope your blog inspires more people to also make it personal.
Nice post, got me thinking, I was watching CNN this morning. Seeing all the images made me think the same and then I went on my daily routine. After reading your post I have donated to the red cross.
so well put, Ru. I think we all find ourselves feeling like this — so helpless, so far away, so far removed, so distracted. We haven’t chosen yet, which organization to give to. We normally do the American Red Cross, but I have wanted to study some of the other links. I also, am skeptical, as to the deliverance of the funds and things being on the up and up. I know aid is needed, but I don’t feel to bad waiting to figure out just where to donate, since this poor forsaken country will be in need of aid for so many years to come.
Thanks for your words.
Very well stated. I too feel that I could do more. I hope the donation from this comment makes a difference.
Hi Rudri, I think we all go through the same thing in our minds. Since you & i have the skills/services to offer people in these tragic situations it makes a larger impact/more pressure in our conscious to help. We had decided last month to start donating 5% of our salary each month to charity organizations so it was a no brainer this month where our money was going. It was just a matter of which organization was going to make the most efficient use of our money. I think thats what people struggle w/ when giving money. I def dont trust large organizations like Red Cross/Salvations Army. Plus i saw what they did in Katrina & other situations to know that 70-80% of donations go to administrative costs. To me thats unacceptable. Anyway i found Wycleff’s organization yele.org who has been working to help Haiti for over 10 years (long before these disasters). Im sure there are more out there but i know people that work w/ him & i feel certain my donation will be used efficiently. Thanks for your thoughs. You are a great person truly dedicated to serving people. Im proud to call you a friend.
Thank you for taking the time to DO SOMETHING wonderful. It matters.
Excellent. Very well said/stated. I donated all of my cash back balance in Discover card for the relief effort in Haiti.
Rudri, you are so right… it’s easy to be overwhelmed as we are so removed from the crisis. I too am sending money, however small a contribution I can make.
Together we can make a difference! We donated to red cross.
Although I only met you once very briefly, I really enjoy reading your blog…you have a special gift! (I worked with Ashish and follow the links he posts on facebook 🙂 )
This post especially touched home, as I too have felt like there is nothing I can do to help those in Haiti. Thank you for your motivating words…I have since gone and made a donation to the Red Cross. Even if our donations, though seemingly small in the wake of everything going on, help one person, they are well worth it.
A friend of mine actually told me about your blog (word of mouth always works, even in
the 21st century). I always find something to relate to in your writing and also makes me think and you know sometimes you need a catalyst to help you evaluate and think about what is going on in your life. I thank you for being that catalyst in many waysand keep being Rudri..
FYI..my company ran a fundraiser and i donated money to UNICEF for Haiti.
(a few corrections….)
Your call to further attention and consideration is doing “something” above and beyond. Kudos for your efforts and your creativity!
My husband and I belong to a small prayer group who has access to another organization who will purchase tents, food, materials, water, etc. for up to two people – we are all on board to get this set for twenty Haitians and have some other folks who are jumping in too. We have watched this tragedy from my husband’s hospital bed and, now, at home! It makes me want to adopt one of those gorgeous and very precious children….
See you soon!