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    Monday
    Feb152010

    The Soul of The NOLA Tree in Action, Helping Haiti, Part II

    A young person’s experience with The NOLA Tree consists of much more than an individual lending a helping hand. We focus on educating our participants, exposing them to the history, geography, politics, people and culture of the region in which they are working.

    Those words come directly from our organization's business plan. Now while our volunteers aren't helping out in Port-au-Prince, Aubry, or Croix-des-Bouquets yet -- yet -- it hasn't stopped them from wanting to learn more about the country they are so desperately trying to help.

    So this past Saturday evening, seven teenagers from The NOLA Tree gathered in a suburban living room and met with Niky Fabiancic, a Resident Representative from the United Nations Development Plan.

    Mr. Fabianic shared with the volunteers the story of Haiti and the Haitian people. He discussed how Haiti rebelled against and gained its independence from France at the beginning of the 19th century. He emphasized how the revolution and independence meant freedom for blacks and how Haiti became the first black-led republic in the world. Unfortunately, the rest of the western world didn't share in this view of equality and civil rights. As a result, Haiti was forced into international and economic isolation. In order to survive, the Haitian people had no choice but to enter into a relationship with France that would lead to decades of economic turmoil.

    Then Mr. Fabiancic spoke about the United Nation's current mission in Haiti (as well as elsewhere). He discussed his department and what they were trying to do to help the Haitian people after the devastating earthquake. He also raised concerns about some of the NGOs (non-governmental organizations) aiding in the recovery effort. Many were failing to involve the local communities. He emphasized the importance of teaching the people how to help themselves, and at the moment, not enough of that was taking place.

    Well, that's how The NOLA Tree volunteers want to try and play a role. So inspired by the meeting, volunteers from our group have already put the wheels in motion to organize an assembly at the high school where several of them attend. Mr. Fabincic will be a guest speaker, and money will be raised for the Haitian earthquake relief effort.

    Without a doubt, that is just the beginning.

    As Margaret Mead said,

    “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.”

    So, so true.

    « The NOLA Tree's First Spring Program -- Lots of Exciting News! | Main | The Soul of The NOLA Tree in Action, Helping Haiti, Part I »