Executive Corner

Haiti in Perspective

A year ago this past week, an unspeakable tragedy befell the people of Haiti.

A devastating earthquake ravaged the small Caribbean nation, destroying most of the nation’s infrastructure and leaving millions of men, women, and children homeless. Millions of people all over the world pitched in, and we in the hosting industry tried to do our part as well.

Last year, along with several industry colleagues and competitors, ServInt was a founding member of Hosting for Haiti, an initiative designed to raise funds for the American Red Cross’ work in Haiti. We also co-sponsored an indie music benefit concert in Washington, D.C. benefiting Voice of Haiti. Voice of Haiti is an organization that focuses on building sustainable infrastructure, job training, and on providing basic agricultural and sanitation improvements to Haitians in the greatest need. Voice of Haiti is the only NGO in many of the most impoverished regions of Haiti, and its projects are managed and executed by local Haitians. 95% of all money donated to Voice of Haiti is actually put to work “in-country” — a remarkable amount.  It truly is an incredible organization and we are proud to do whatever we can to help them.

ServInt also co-sponsored the creation of IndieMusicforHaiti.com, a site that enables musicians from all over the world to spread a positive message in support of Haiti. Musicians are still uploading their music to the site to help keep the plight of the Haitian people in the hearts and minds of those more fortunate, and we are proud to help ensure they stay online.

This past week, I’ve been reflecting on just how fortunate we really are in this country and elsewhere in the world. Haiti may only be a few hundred miles off the coast of America, but it still feels very far away.

I can say unequivocally that the aftermath of the earthquake helped put my personal and professional struggles in perspective. Things that all of us take for granted, like plumbing and irrigation, running water and basic hygiene, the availability and ubiquity of food and agricultural resources…well, there are still people in our own backyard who struggle without these basic comforts. So many of the challenges we face in our personal and professional lives pale in significance to what many Haitians must endure every single day and, frankly, it’s easier to simply not think about it.

But we have to keep thinking about it — because the sad truth is that the crisis isn’t over. We owe it to ourselves and to each other to remember what happened, to step outside of our comfort zones and put our personal problems in perspective. Right now in Haiti, cholera is rampant and a steady barrage of devastating weather has made development even more difficult. Right now, in Washington, D.C., we’re complaining about traffic. Perspective can be a powerful thing.

If you can, please consider giving back to help those in need and keep the suffering in your thoughts as we move ahead in 2011 and beyond.  Here are some groups that we think are doing a good job for Haitians in need.  Help them in any way you can.

American Red Cross

Hosting for Haiti

Vwa Ayiti/ Voice of Haiti

– Christian

Photo by FMSC

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