HAITI 2012 – Women and Girl’s Rights, REBUILD Globally

 

REBUILD Globally

 

 
Women’s and Girls’ Rights

High rates of sexual violence existed before the earthquake, but the precarious safety and economic situation after the earthquake has left some women and girls even more vulnerable to such abuse. Many women lost their homes and livelihoods in the quake and now live in informal settlements or rely on host families for shelter. The UN and HNP have increased their security presence in some camps, and the UN Population Fund and humanitarian organizations have worked to increase lighting in many camps. Yet Human Rights Watch found that some victims have difficulty accessing post-rape medical services in sufficient time to prevent unwanted pregnancy.

Some women and girls in post-earthquake Haiti lack access to family planning and prenatal and obstetric care. Pregnancy rates in camps for displaced people are three times higher than urban rates of pregnancy were before the earthquake. Human Rights Watch found that many women and girls in camps do not know where to get birth control or prenatal care even though these services exist. Many have given birth in tents or some on the street en route to the hospital because of transportation difficulties.

Human Rights Watch also found that women’s lack of access to economic security leads some women to trade sex for food or other necessities without using contraception, compounding the impact of their lack of access to reproductive health services and increasing chances for unintended pregnancy and disease. In particular, pregnant women and lactating mothers face increased hardships, as do women with disabilities and elderly women, due to constrained mobility and greater need for health services, food, and water.

Women also have difficulty participating in decision-making about recovery and reconstruction.

The aftershocks of the January 2010 earthquake are still being felt in Haiti. But REBUILD Globally, an American NGO, is helping women in the Caribbean nation to take steps at styling a new future—for themselves and the country.

REBUILD Globally was founded in February 2010, just weeks after the devastating earthquake which killed up to 200,000 people. On Friday, Feb. 4, 2011, REBUILD Globally held its Orlando Sandal Premiere. Several special guests were on hand, and sandals made from recycled tires were sold to help raise awareness for this important project.

REBUILD Globally Overview

MISSION

To improve the quality of life for people in distressed communities by using techniques to promote education, gainful employment, agriculture and community development.

VISION

A world where all people have the resources and opportunities to live in harmony with themselves, their community, and their planet.

HISTORY

In response to the devastating earthquake of January 12, 2010, REBUILD Globally was established to improve the lives of those most affected in Port-au-Prince, Haiti via the provision of education and living wage employment opportunities.

RG was founded in an effort to support the most vulnerable populations of Haiti. Our initiative is to address the critical issues of unemployment in the adult population and the conditions of destitute children living on Haiti’s streets; both seen by us as a result of lack of access to education. As recommended by the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti, RG’s methods align with a rights-based approach to relief and reconstruction. Our product is sandals, however our impact runs deeper than the streets and waterways we are keeping clean. Our artisans, apprentices, and street children are equipped with trade skills, English classes and entrepreneurial training that is invaluable to supporting their return to independent living.

Through our mission we strive to create livelihood and education opportunities in underserved communities by using techniques focused on environmentally friendly practices, community-driven development and dignified employment. RG’s two primary goals focus on self-sufficiency at the individual level, and environmentally-conscious practices at the community level. Our two primary goals are to:

Provide a living-wage, “green” employment providing individuals with the dignity of independence and self-sufficiency thru reducing waste in Haiti by creative re-purposing of recyclable materials.
Create pathways out of poverty for homeless children and youth in Haiti through education, life skills and technical training.

OUR CHALLENGES

As of September 2010, more than eight months after the January 12th earthquake, at least 1.3 million Haitians continue to live in makeshift camps in and around Port-au-Prince. Recent survey results published by a coalition of human rights organizations revealed that living conditions in the camps continue to violate basic human dignity:

  • Right to Food. 75% of families had someone go an entire day without eating in the past week and over 50% indicated that their children did not eat for an entire day
  • Right to Clean Water. 44% of families primarily drank untreated water
  • Right to Housing. 78% of families lived without enclosed shelter
  • Self-Sufficiency. 37% of families did not have a single family member with a fulltime job, a part-time job, a cash-for-work arrangement, or self-employment
  • The July survey confirmed that aid has slowed and even stopped in each of the six camps surveyed. There are few work opportunities to fill the gap. For families that had at least one person working, they were often supporting six or more family members.

Please download the Rebuild Globally Brochure for more information.

August 14, 2010, just 7 months after the unforgiving earthquake on January 12, 2010 that claimed 200,000 lives and left 300,000 homeless and jobless, is the day I will never forget. This is the day we opened the REBUILD Globally (RG) training center and workshop. This is the day that marks the beginning of the bravery of our Haitian artisans, Board of Directors, international and local volunteers and many friends and family. This is the day RG took a plunge to use what most people in the world consider discard-able waste and planned to revolutionize the way waste in Haiti is managed, the way international consumers buy and the way aid is delivered to devastated, poverty stricken communities.

“Integrity” this was the word that rang in my head every moment after the earthquake. How can RG make a significant and long term positive change in Haiti after all it had suffered? We decided to listen to those who were most affected and to act with integrity at the forefront of every action we took. People asked for jobs and we worked hand in hand in order to provide a dignified living-wage and livelihood opportunities for four Haitian women and men. On that day, August 14, 2010, that was all we could conceive: four people, four lives.

18 months later, we are honored to say we have 11 full time artisans, 18 vulnerable youth students enrolled in our Apprenticeship Training Program and 13 former street children living in safe housing with their education provided by from RG. As you read the first of many Annual Reports from RG, it is my dream for each person to recognize the power they have had in changing lives in Haiti and the possibilities of a better world for so many. RG and the world in which our artisans live is a result of the compassion each individual donor and customer has shown through active participation. Thank you for being a thoughtful buyer, conscious giver and educated global citizen. It is people like you who inspire others to be the best they can be when situations seem dire and hopeless.

This is just the beginning for RG. Our journey together will continue be full of trials that turn everyday people into humanitarian heroes. You are my hero. Thank you for choosing to walk the path with RG.

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