A man exits a restaurant after he looked for his belongings. An earthquake rocked Port au Prince on January 12. Photo Marco Dormino/ The United Nations Development Programme on Flickr
One week later, the world has a better understanding of the scope of the earthquake in Haiti and has mobilized to provide much needed help to the local population. Canadians from all walks of life and from every region are deeply affected by the suffering of the people of Haiti and are donating to support the work of humanitarian organizations.
One of the earthquake’s direct results is the human loss of teachers and students, and the destruction of the higher educational infrastructure, including the university in Port-au-Prince. The cultural centre of Haiti, Jacmel, has also been extensively destroyed. For a country already hit by other disasters, this represents a catastrophic setback that could severely impede the return to stable civil society.
The Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences is calling on its community to show solidarity and look for ways to help in the reconstruction of Haiti. The Federation is encouraging its member institutions to investigate the possibility to take on Haitian students, enabling them to continue their education and acquire the knowledge and skills needed to contribute to the reconstruction effort in their country. The Federation also encourages individual members of Canada’s university research community to seek every opportunity to make their knowledge and skills available to government and frontline organizations involved in the humanitarian effort in Haiti. They can also assist by reaching out to the local Haitian-Canadian community, helping them deal with the sense of loss and mobilize to aid families and friends back at home.
Today more than ever, Haiti needs our community’s support and our commitment. The Federation encourages every member of its community to see how he or she can best help in the situation.