International Unitarian Universalism

Standing Shoulder to Shoulder with Partners in Haiti

By UUA International Resources

The Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) is partnering with the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC) on a joint volunteer trip to Haiti, January 21. In the post below, trip participant Kara Smith of UUSC shares her thoughts on the progress made so far and on the journey to help rebuild the community and lives of earthquake survivors in Haiti. The UUA-UUSC Haiti Volunteer Program is made possible through the contributions of UUA and UUSC donors and a generous grant from the Veatch Program of the UU Congregation at Shelter Rock, in Manhasset, N.Y. I boarded the plane for Haiti this morning. As I packed and readied myself for the trip, questions ran through my head in a continuous loop, mostly about what it will be like two years after a massive earthquake struck. Last Thursday our team was readying ourselves, going over logistics and schedules, and we paused for a moment of silence to reflect on the two-year commemoration. As I said a prayer for all those who perished and for those who survived, I said to myself, "This is why we do this work." Since the earthquake, UUSC has worked with partners as they work for a just recovery. I am privileged to work for an organization that understands the meaning of the human struggle for human rights. It is about helping one person at a time, treating them with dignity and compassion as we build together for a better future. Today I am on my way to meet some of the amazingly brave and powerful people whose blood, sweat, and tears are part of the mortar of rebuilding Haiti — and making it a Haiti in which all who struggle for voice, agency, and inclusion in the recovery process are respected. We will visit with partners in Port-au-Prince who are working to ensure sustainable access to food, providing skills trainings and income-generation projects, and helping protect women and girls from gender-based violence. Then we will head to the Central Plateau to work with the Papaye Peasant Movement for a UUSC-UUA JustWorks service-learning trip. I feel truly privileged to be a part of this journey, through the work that I do at UUSC and the opportunity to stand shoulder to shoulder with our partners on the ground. I invite you to join our webinar From the Ground Up on January 26 at 7:00 p.m. (ET) to hear a bit more about our trip and UUSC's work in Haiti.

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UUA International Resources

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