Thank goodness for NPR! Thanks to them, you can learn so much on the drive between home and the grocery store. This week, I learned about the Red Cross and their work in Haiti. Bear in mind, I recently interviewed the folks at Food for the Poor who have built over 5,000 homes in Haiti since the 2010 earthquake and can give oodles of other quantifiable numbers on what they have accomplished.
So I was curious to know what the Red Cross had accomplished after raising over $500 million in donations from benevolent Americans with Haitian salvation as their cause. According to the report, their total number of new homes built in the five years after the earthquake… is six. Of course, news is meant to be sensational, but this report was coming from NPR so I gave it good credence. Apparently, the rebuilding of homes was supposed to be the primary goal in the case study community called Campeche. The Red Cross claims a $24 million investment in the community. Residents have yet to see any work done.
The organization’s excuse is the bureaucracy attached to securing land to build upon, yet Food for the Poor and numerous other organizations have been doing it successfully for even longer than the past 5 years. We can rest assured that their executives, agents and volunteers have been paid heartily from the pool of money they collected for this cause for crunching numbers and spinning their wheels for the last 5 years.
They claim that they repaired several hundred homes and schools. These claims were neither verified nor disputed in the investigation. But if you believe the locals interviewed, the organization spent a bunch on accommodating themselves, discounted the value of the locals to aid in the project, and have been missing in action claiming accomplishments that just have apparently not happened.
It is true that facilitating major projects like these is a feat in logistics. But it is deplorable that when all the majority of us can offer is our money and our prayers, more and more the folks we trust are taking advantage of both the victims and our kind hearts.
Calibe Thompson is the Executive Producer of the “Taste the Islands” cooking series, now airing M & Th at 7:30PM, and Sat at 3:30PM on South Florida’s WPBT2 (Ch 2). Her next television project “Island Origins” explores the concept of the American Dream from the Caribbean perspective.