It is with awe and disbelief that we watch the events unfold following last week’s 7.0 earthquake in Haiti. Stories emerge every minute, it seems–stories of suffering, cries for help…troubling stories of aid shipments caught up and unable to reach their destination. Among these stories emerge small stories of hope as well. Stories of loved ones found, of people reaching beyond themselves to help others.
The Sewing Machine Project is committed to helping those in need, those who are pressed to rebuild their communities. At this point, the first priority in Haiti is to meet the urgent needs of those who are hurt, hungry and homeless. The road to rebuilding will be long and I see our project as providing help during the rebuilding phase which will follow this first desperate time. When the time is right, we will offer our helping hands as well, with sewing machines to help people mend their lives and communities.
Presidents Bill Clinton and George Bush co-authored an inspiring article in the Sunday NY Times, offering a call to action for this troubled region. The final paragraphs read:
Crises have the power to bring out the best in people, and we have seen many examples of this over the years, especially after the tsunami. Conflict in Aceh, Indonesia, was laid to rest while people focused on rebuilding together. In communities along the Indian coast, women who had lost their husbands learned marketable skills like arts and crafts and emerged better able to provide for themselves and their children than they were before the disaster.
We should never forget the damage done and the lives lost, but we have a chance to do things better than we once did; be a better neighbor than we once were; and help the Haitian people realize their dream for a stronger, more secure nation. But we need more than just support from governments–we need the innovation and resources of businesses; the skills and the knowledge of nongovernmental organizations, including faith-based groups; and the generosity and support of individuals to fill in the gaps.
We can help, all of us.