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UC’s Haiti Initiative gains momentum

On August 14, representatives of the student-founded UC Haiti Initiative will travel to the earthquake-ravaged, Caribbean island-nation of Haiti for a 10-day fact-finding visit. The group of students and faculty will visit Port-au-Prince, Jacmel, Mirebalais and Leogane, the epicenter of the 7.0 quake that in January wreaked tremendous havoc on the country.

The group, which includes 13 students among the 21 people traveling to Haiti, will meet with government officials, non-governmental organization (NGO) leaders and community members, with the aim of finding a Haitian community to work with on specific recovery projects that can be sustained by the Haitian people.

“No images I’ve seen on TV can compare to what I saw in Haiti,” said UC Santa Barbara professor Claudine Michel, who visited her homeland in May. “In terms of daily life and daily survival, people are suffering … Rebuilding is a monumental task.”

“I was witnessing unmitigated, severe trauma,” Nicolas Pascal, student executive director of the UC Haiti Initiative, said of the survival challenges Haitians face even seven months after the quake. He visited Haiti with Michel in May. “We’re looking forward to finding a small community where we can most effectively pursue our goal of providing assistance on Haitian terms to our Haitian brothers and sisters.”

There are plans afoot for the UC Haiti Initiative to apply for status as a UC multi-campus research unit. There are relief organizations interested in partnering with the UC group, and hopefully the Initiative will be able to secure grant money.

Read more: UC Haiti Initiative gains momentum

Read more about UC’s efforts to help Haiti:

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