Hope For Haiti Encourages Collaboration

by April York

In light of the devastating earthquake that occurred this month in Haiti, many members of the Transylvania community have come together to create a new organization, Hope for Haiti.

“I think it’s our duty as human beings,” said sophomore Amelia Reesor, one of the leaders of Hope for Haiti.

“It’s not a club; it’s a resource for everyone who wants to help Haiti in order for Transy to have one central effort,” said sophomore Viktoria Safarian, who is also one of the Hope for Haiti leaders and the founder of T.U.T.O.R.S.

Reesor described the group as “a bringing together of most of the organizations on campus. … A lot of different organizations are setting up their own events, and we’re just moderating it.”

The Transylvania Choral Department, the Student Art League, the residence life staff and the Writing Center are some of the organizations already involved.

Hope for Haiti is asking for any event or fundraiser that is for the benefit of the Haitians to go through their organization.

“One name, one goal, one effort,” Safarian said.

Hope for Haiti leaders said that one unified effort avoids different organizations planning similar events at the same time. Additionally, one centralized effort allows for more unified organization and advertising of Transy’s efforts to aid the Haitian community.

At a meeting held on Tuesday, it was decided that the Hope for Haiti funds will be sent to Partners In Health, Paul Farmer’s organization that many members of the campus community are familiar with from the book “Mountains Beyond Mountains.”

Partners In Health has had a presence in Haiti for over 20 years.

“They know Haiti; they know Port-au-Prince,” Safarian said.

In addition, 95 percent of Partners In Health’s fundraising goes toward program expenses. Transy also has previous connections with the organization, both from the First Engagements reading of “Mountains Beyond Mountains” and also from the relief effort Hygiene for Haiti that occurred last year.

Reesor feels Partners In Health is a good beneficiary of Hope for Haiti’s funds.

“You know they’re going to take care of the people of Haiti,” Reesor said.

Senior Tyler Murphy will be working to find community partners that will match any funds raised by Hope for Haiti, possibly doubling or tripling the amount donated to Partners In Health.

Both Reesor and Sarfarian stressed the importance of not forgetting the Haitians in a few weeks as the news dies down.

“This isn’t something that is just all of a sudden going to be taken care of. … The whole country is still going to need rebuilding, even when it’s not on the six o’clock news every night,” Reesor said.

While events in February are the main focus, Hope for Haiti wants to see events continuing throughout the term and possibly into the next academic year.

“It’s really important people think about the future of Haiti, not just this disaster,” Safarian said.

Those seeking further information should contact Hope for Haiti’s secretary Josh Edge at jredge12@transy.edu.


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