I want to thank the entire YourStory International community for your generosity over the past three weeks. Because of the immediate outpouring of donations, we were able to start delivering emergency food and water aid to families in Léogâne less than 36 hours after Hurricane Matthew made landfall.
The hurricane caused widespread flooding throughout the communities we serve. It was an unexpected tragedy, but due to our history of working with the community, we were prepared to respond. Marie-Flore St. Fleur, our co-founder, Haiti country director, and a Léogâne native, was there when Matthew struck. She leveraged our local networks to purchase and distribute aid to families in need with breathtaking speed, outpacing even the local government and other American NGOs. Within the first week, teams of YourStory-funded local responders had distributed three days worth of supplies to over 500 families.
As an organization, we empower the communities we serve, focusing on innovative and resilient local citizens who are the real change-makers. This is what informed our grassroots-to-grassroots approach to the disaster. Our advocate network raised thousands of dollars in small donations (60% of the donations were $25 or less), which we sent to the Haitian community members who carried out the response.
Moving forward, we are shifting our focus from delivering emergency aid to supporting long-term prosperity. We plan to relieve the financial pressure on families who lost their homes by expanding and focusing our work to provide free primary health care to the entire community and pay elementary school tuition for the poorest families in our area. This support will mitigate the uncertainty that often prevents hard-working and resilient Haitian families from building prosperity.
Kevin Michael Lombardi
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