A Home in HaitiApril 13, 2010 - 1:34 PM | by: Adam Housley
“We just stumbled upon the idea of buying tents,” says Atlanta Pastor Shaun King. Initially he and others had tried to send equipment and even surgeons to help out, but soon realized the simple idea of shelter wasn’t so simple…or for that matter available.
You might remember that while in Haiti reporting on the earthquake, our crew made it to an orphanage that was in dire need of food, water, medical treatment and shelter. At the time, Twitter, e-mail and Facebook had many of us on the ground in Haiti moving from location to location, we reported while volunteers helped so many of those in need. Well even though some time has passed, the rainy season in Haiti has come and we continue to follow this tragic story.
The last time we checked in with Shaun and a few others on the web who were doing whatever they can to help Haiti, they were starting a new website and initiative to get tents for those in need of shelter. Called ‘ahomeinhaiti.org’, donors didn’t have to send money and with it uncertainty about where their money was going, they could buy the tent online and have it delivered. The idea has caught on and Shaun tells me, “I don’t even go camping, but i am now a tent expert!”
As people started to move on with their lives and the story of Haiti’s troubles slips to the back pages, Shaun met some unlikely friends with big time name recognition like actress Eva Longoria, who has signed onto the project and promoted it on ‘Twitter’ and during live interviews on television. At first the organization was excited about help to get the word out, but like anyone they were skeptical. That all changed tho when donations and tent orders spiked again and as of right now, more than 5,000 tents have been bought by donors so far.
The tents are not foolproof and they aren’t a long-term solution, but they will help through this rainy season. We saw some arrive before we left the area a couple of months back and they do make quite a difference when you see people living under sheets and tarps held up by branches on a tree or sticks stuck into the ground. Also the tent program doesn’t really compete with local vendors which has ben a complaint by many Haitians trying to get their businesses back on track amidst free food handouts for those in need.
Shaun also says that they have given tents to orphanages, hospitals, volunteers in Haiti who are starting their own tent cities and families they have met online or though family members living here in the states. The tents can cost anywhere from $100-$500 and are easily set up. This price may seem affordable to us here in the U.S., but for many Haitians that would be well out of their price range in a normal year, let alone after a massive natural disaster.
Below I have attached a couple of pictures that I grabbed of the tent cities and also some of the tents sent along by volunteers on the ground. Whether you want to help or not, what is so amazing is that this whole group of people mostly have never met. Through social networking and e-mails and phone calls, people from all over the country…known and unknown….are working together to make this happen. We saw it first hand when we linked up to find orphanages and people in need a couple of months ago and their hard work continues until this hour.
www.ahomeinhaiti.org for more info