You’ve Heard The Hype, Now Learn What C2C Is Really All About
Just after 5 p.m. on January 12, 2010, I came home from work to hear a 7.0 magnitude earthquake had broken my little country Haiti into pieces. For days my friends and I anxiously waited as news from home slowly trickled in.Thousands were without homes, food, clothing, medicine, clean water, trauma counseling and other basic necessities.
Through February, I watched helplessly as the news coverage grew dire. The pull on my heart to do something more, something of meaning, grew stronger. By May I had quit my job and created Community2Community (C2C), with a goal to build self-sufficient communities in Haiti.
Home for the First Time in 15 Years
In August, I traveled to Petit Goâve, Haiti, my father’s hometown. I hadn’t been home in over 15 years. One week into the trip, after a long day of walking and interviewing locals, I stood crying in the shower for 20 minutes. I felt emotions I couldn’t explain. I cried old tears — tears I kept inside longing for the day I could return home. The next morning I pressed on.
My fellow C2C workers and I visited six tent cities and chose three communities to launch our Haiti Restoration and Transformation Pilot Project (HRTPP).
The people, initially skeptical of outside intervention, welcomed us.Many said they were often left out of key decisions that would have an impact on them long after the “relief ” organizations were gone. C2C was different. We came into a devastated community to not only get the area back to where it was, but better. Inspired by the age-old proverb “give a person a fish and he eats for a day, teach him to fish and he will feed himself for a lifetime,” our vision is self-sufficiency.
Doing Something About It
We took what we heard in Petit Goâve back to the United Sates. We were on a mission. With endorsements from New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, C2C introduced the “Hope and A Future” benefit concert for Haiti with artists from all over the world rocking the stage at the famous Apollo Theater in Harlem.
We Are Doing More Than Those with Millions
Some charities collected millions, but the money wasn’t reaching Haitian communities. With little more than $40,000 raised at the concert, we were determined to make a lasting impact in Haiti. Along with our Project Partner ADIHA (Association Des Ingenieurs Haïtiens et Américaine), here’s what we’ve accomplished thus far in Petit Goâve:
- Constructed 15 new latrines to provide access to proper sanitation
- Responded to a cholera outbreak with a one-day education and aquatabs distribution intervention that saved over 600 lives
- Completed Phase 1 of the water system — now, water flows at 6 gallons per minute, before there was no water source
- Began Phase 2 of the water system: excavation for a water tank
- Initiated a community-wide medical-assessment survey
- Attracted volunteer architects and engineers to create our project plans and drawings
- Supported the planting of 8,000 trees for the mountainside reforestation efforts
- Secured donations of medical supplies, clothing and a motorcycle
With the work started, our goal now is to complete it. As we say in Haiti, “Men anpil, chay pa lou” (many hands make the load lighter). With many hands in mind, we launched our 1000@$1000 Campaign in November.
1000@$1000 is C2C’s fundraising campaign to recruit “many hands” — 1,000 individuals, businesses, schools and organizations investing $1,000 each toward our ultimate goal of $1 million. These funds will go directly to finish the projects in Petit Goâve and then to replicate the project throughout Haiti.
On January 13, 2012, over 900 supporters attended the second annual “Hope and A Future” benefit concert for Haiti, which featured headliners Oleta Adams, Chrisette Michele and CaRiMi.
As my dad would say, “For those of us who are Haitian, this is our duty.” I would add, for those with a heart for Haiti, this is their calling. While our primary goal for the concert was to raise funds, the spirit of the concert goes further to raise awareness and share a message: Haiti has hope and a future.
This is a call to action. Small organizations are making big and lasting impacts. We aim to provide a platform for people to get involved in something greater than themselves. I know because I was one of those people who felt challenged to do more. A courage, faith and determination that I did not know I had came from within. I am the fire starter, but I didn’t start the fire. It started me.
The C2C Partners
DLO POU VIV (H)20 is aimed at ending water disparities in Haiti by supplying portable water via drilling wells and play pumps. DPV also promotes a personal hygiene and sanitation education program to school-aged children, called PHASE, to combat water-born diseases. Founder Soraya Denis was born in Brooklyn, New York, to Haitian parents but lived in Haiti until the age of six. During a visit to Haiti in 2008, the master’s degree graduate of St. John’s University was inspired to educate communities on sanitation. By partnering with C2C, Denis hopes to make hygiene and waste-management commonplace in Port-au-Prince. www.dlopouviv.org
Fashion With a Conscience (FWAC) is about fashion, beauty and philanthropy. Its mission is to change the world, one thread at a time. With Kathleen Ellie at the helm, FWAC promotes Haiti’s reconstruction through philanthropic partnering and sales of specialty T-shirts with “God Save Haiti” scripted across the front.FWAC donates the profits from these T-shirt sales to C2C. FWAC also created “Petite Fetes,” small parties hosted on behalf of C2C to bring focus to the cause. FWAC also offers a blog intertwining fashion with insights into Haiti’s history and culture. www.fashionwithaconscience.org
The Bklyn Lotus is dedicated to interweaving women empowerment,Christianity and technology. The Bklyn Lotus is a platform for delving into societal issues not frequently discussed in church. The Bklyn Lotus also enables do-it-yourself spiritual change through technology. As a member of the C2C Collective,The Bklyn Lotus is responsible for managing C2C’s online community across social networking sites. To learn more about The Bklyn Lotus and founder Fatima Dosso, visit www.thebklynlotus.com and follow TheBklynLotus
About Marie-Yolaine Eusebe
Marie-Yolaine Eusebe is the CEO + FireStarter of Community-2Community (C2C), a nonprofit service organization building selfsufficient communities in Haïti. Eusebe left her position at American Express shortly after the January 12, 2010, earthquake to create C2C and help the rebuilding efforts in Petit Goâve, her father’s hometown. She aims to give others an opportunity to be part of something greater than themselves. Eusebe lives and works between Brooklyn, NY, and Petit Goâve, Haïti. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
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