Empowering the Haitian People
Tuesday, February 7, 2012
Sustain Haiti was created and began sending volunteers and aid to the country of Haiti after a 7.0 earthquake rocked the country in January of 2010.
The inspiration to create the organization came to Warner Woodworth, BYU professor of Social Entrepreneurship and Organizational Behavior and student Dustin Homer after the earthquake hit.
Woodworth, Sustain Haiti’s Director, worked with BYU to help bring education and long-term help to the people of Haiti but the help wore off. He wanted to continue working with the people and brought Homer onto a leadership board. The two men along with a few other volunteers helped lift the project off the ground.
“Sustain Haiti was formed by a group of social entrepreneurs in response to this disaster,” said Kaitlyn Tolman, Sustain Haiti’s director of Public Relations. “Focused on principles of self-reliance and sustainable development, our goal is to help Haitians help themselves. The Haitian people are brave and talented, but they need help rebuilding their lives and homes. This need inspires Sustain Haiti and are committed to improving the lives of the Haitian people.”
Over 200,000 Haitians were killed and 1.3 million were left homeless from the devastation.
“The real objective we had creating the organization was to meet a need that other people were not going to meet for the people of Haiti,” Homer said. “A lot of people were sending medical supplies but our objective was to come in later to create something longer lasting than emergency relief. We wanted to help with education and loans to aid in long-term improvement.”
As Sustain Haiti projects continue to take root, the ultimate goal of the organization is to find useful ways to meet local needs and build relationships. Homer and Woodworth are focused on working with neighborhood groups to make connections that help in implementing other programs, most of which are educational. English, Business and Agriculture are just a few of the programs taught by the organization.