As a disaster relief volunteer in Haiti, I found many people taking action after the devastating 7.0 earthquake of January 12, 2010 in ways that ranged from innovative and awe-inspiring to destructive and self-serving. It’s easy to focus on money wasted or things done badly, but without equal focus on that which is done well, positive change becomes elusive. Featuring pages dedicated to history, culture, and inspiring organizations, From Haiti to Here places the country’s current challenges a historical context, while offering an inspiring look at a half-dozen small organizations that are acting in innovative, effective, and culturally appropriate ways to address some of the challenges Haiti faces.
Nestled between these pages of history and inspiration in From Haiti to Here are your pages—the blank pages with which you create your own story, your own inspiration. Use these pages however you wish: to reflect, to hold memories, to organize your thoughts, to doodle, to plan. I often find that my best ideas spring to life in the pages of my hand-written journals, and there is very little that doesn’t work itself out if I sit long enough with pen and paper.
Please choose from the three cover designs (two by Haitian artists and one by me) and place your order by clicking the PayPal button below. We ask for a $16 or more donation per journal, and all profits will help me to bring supplies from the All Hands Volunteers wish list to the Philippines in mid-January. I’ll be volunteering on Project Bohol, clearing rubble and helping to rebuild after the earthquake and Typhoon Haiyan. You can find out more about our work at hands.org.
Thank you for your support!
About the Haiti Relief Art Project – July 29th, 2012
The Haiti Relief Art Project was born in the spring of 2011, as I thought about ways to raise funds so that I could volunteer in Haiti as a relief worker with All Hands, the same group I worked with in West Sumatra after the 7.6 earthquake there. Someone suggested that I create a Kickstarter project. But Kickstarter is for art projects. Going to Haiti to build schools, install biosand water filters, and clear rubble from last year’s catastrophic earthquake is not exactly an art project. The suggestion sparked an idea, though: I could create art based on my experiences in Haiti and use it to raise money for relief work.
I left for Haiti in February, and loved working with All Hands there. I didn’t get the artwork done in Haiti as I had hoped—the days were too full. In addition to the regular All Hands projects, I also started a creative reuse project to reduce the camp’s waste, and helped design a permaculture project for the local orphanage. The days flew by, and soon I was back home in San Francisco.
Over the summer, I began painting, inspired by the Haitian folk art style. I had forgotten just how long it actually takes to complete a painting! I finished in October, and began looking for printers. My hope was to pick four designs, two by Haitian artists and two by me, and turn them into cards, prints, and blank journals. I had a small sample run printed of the first two designs—the ones by Haitian artists—and gave them to people who donated in the spring.
When I launched my Kickstarter page, I had hoped to raise money both for my travel expenses and for printing costs. Many people gave generously, and I raised enough money to cover all of my travel costs as well as to bring some much-needed supplies to Haiti. Unfortunately, I did not raise enough money for printing more than the small sample run of journals. So now, as I prepare to go back to Haiti once again to join the dedicated All Hands volunteers, I am launching another fundraiser. This time my goal is not only to cover travel and supplies, but also to launch the Haiti Relief Art Project as a long-term, sustainable fundraiser so that I can continue to do disaster relief work for several months of every year.
My vision for the next round of journals is that they would be filled not only with blank pages, but also with “inspiration pages” and “history pages.” Inspiration pages would each feature a different inspiring project that is currently going on in Haiti, along with information about how to get involved or support the project. History pages will each feature an aspect of Haitian history, from a Haitian perspective rather than a Eurocentric perspective. So much of Haiti’s current situation is a direct result of its history as the first successful national slave revolt and the first black Republic—and the US/European response of economic policies that kept it impoverished. I hope the journals will reach people who would not otherwise learn about Haitian history.
I’m scheduled to return to Haiti on November 29, 2011, and stay through the end of the year or longer. I’d like to write the history pages and inspiration pages while in Haiti. When I get back to the United States, I will look for ways to sell the journals, as well as the cards and prints, on a wider scale—online, in shops, through distributors, and at events. A small nonprofit has offered to sponsor the project with its 501(c)(3) status, and all proceeds will be used to fund relief work.
I hope you will consider supporting my vision with a donation! Click the PayPal button below, or write to firstname.lastname@example.org for information on how to send a check.