CMU in Haiti
CMU in Haiti was founded on the ideals of helping the Haitian people through relational advocacy, service trips and collaboration with Haitian grassroots organizations. Our organization was founded in 2012 after a few students took a course by the name of the “Uses and Abuses of Haiti” taught by Professor Michael West who currently holds a guidance position in the organization as our Faculty Advisor. Now, CMU in Haiti members are preparing for the organization’s third trip to Haiti. We plan on a full week, just like the last two years: distributing money and supplies to organizations in need, volunteering with mobile health clinics, and learning about the culture, history and politics.
What We Do:
At Carnegie Mellon University we spend our time fundraising, learning about the culture and history of the Haiti, and working on new projects and ways to support the Haitian People.
We spend our weekly meetings discussing current issues in Haiti and learning more about its history and culture from Michael West. This classroom learning provides important context for students who can now travel to Haiti in the Spring with an understanding of the challenges its people face and how they can help.
Our focus on projects is a year long effort. At the beginning of the year, we hold small weekly fundraisers to create closer bond between members and to increase our presence on campus.Throughout the year, we stay in contact with grassroots leaders in Haiti and learn more about the kind of supplies they need that they cannot attain locally. We collect these items and pack them into suitcases that we can take with us when we travel there in the Spring.
The majority of our impact and experience, however, comes from our annual spring break trip to Haiti. During the trip, we meet with leaders of schools, women’s advocacy groups, and microcredit organizations, providing monetary support to these organizations with the promise of returning the next year to continue the relationship. Simply being in another part of the world with a different culture and way of thinking is an experience on its own, and makes all of us members of the global community something that simply cannot be achieved sitting in a classroom in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania.
When we return from Haiti we have the knowledge, experience and inspiration to continue making a difference. We first document our trip so the group traveling the next year will have all of our do’s and don'ts including what the Haitian organizations we met with need from us. We then focus our efforts on the CMU Campus to raise awareness and share with our peers the situation in Haiti along with what we have accomplished.
How you can help:
We need your help to continue our efforts in Haiti for the next academic year. This has been made difficult due to Haiti’s presence on the US Government’s Travel Advisory List for their lack of emergency preparedness and ability to deal with Emergency situations. Haiti’s lack of support is the reason we created this organization and in order to maintain our safety we take every precaution we can including lodging in gated compounds, always traveling in groups, never going out past 4 p.m. and so on. What this does mean for us, is that we are ineligible to apply for many of the grants available to students working on similar projects, forcing the financial burden of the trip onto our traveling members.
This burden forces serious limitations on our organization reducing the number of members we can take to Haiti, ultimately reducing all the good we are able to do. Your support will help us take more members next year, and through a spiraling effect increase the impact we are able to make. With more people, we can hold more fundraisers, work on more projects, reach more peers and impact more lives.
We need your help to reduce these costs and so we have created the following plan. If we are able to reach our goal of $4,000, we will use $2,000 to completely cover lodging for 20 members while in Haiti. $1,500 will be used to acquire needed medication and supplies for projects we are working on and the remaining $500 will be used to hold an on-campus event to share what we have learned and accomplished with the local community.
On behalf of CMU in Haiti, we would like to thank you for all your help and support whether it be through donation, sharing our link, or even just visiting our campaign to learn more about our organization.