Haitian Hollywood actor, Jimmy Jean-Louis who can soon be seen in Leila Djansi’s upcoming psychological drama, ‘Sinking Sands’ has indicated that though great strides have been made since the deadly earthquake in Haiti, immediate problems continue to confront the relief and recovery process that threaten the success of the Pan American Development Foundation (PADF). He made this known to a key congressional subcommittee in Washington DC.
Speaking on the hearing that was aptly titled, ‘The Crisis in Haiti: Are We Moving Fast Enough?’, the actor and spokesperson for PADF’s recovery efforts in Haiti said: “This poses a question that has a simple and easy answer. No, we are not moving fast enough. Too many Haitians continue to live in despicable conditions with little hope of moving to recovery in the foreseeable future.”
Speaking before the House Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, Jimmy Jean-Louis emphasized that more than 1.2 million Haitians live in make-shift camps that are unsafe, unsanitary and unsustainable. Indeed, many live under plastic and even bed sheets. In addition to these camps, he urged the donors to give increased attention to the most vulnerable – children, victims of violence and trafficking in persons.
“The human rights abuses and violence against women and children have surpassed the crisis point,” he says. “Building roads and bridges are critical to Haiti’s future, but they should not be at the expense of the tens of thousands of young boys and girls who are the country’s future.”
Despite these and other immense problems, Jimmy Jean-Louis thanked the United States and other supporters who are working on solutions. “I say we are fortunate to have a neighbor that is willing to help out the most disadvantaged during a crisis,” he told the panel. “Haitians will remember the generous support, acts of kindness and prayers on their behalf.”
Asked by the House Subcommittee as to what is working well, Jean-Louis testified that a little-known program that inspects homes to see if they are safe for occupancy to is making a difference. During the past three months, trained engineers working with PADF have inspected more than 53,000 homes and other buildings in the capital area to determine whether they may be occupied.
Individual and corporate donations to PADF-OAS-HUFH’s Haiti recovery efforts are encouraged by visiting www.ImUnitedforHaiti.org. PADF is a non-profit organization established in 1962 to promote, facilitate, and implement social and economic development in Latin America and the Caribbean. In the past year, more than 5.6 million people in 18 countries benefited from PADF’s programs. PADF is one of the largest non-governmental organizations in Haiti. With nearly three decades of work on the ground, PADF now manages a large portfolio of activities ranging from community-driven development to protecting human rights. It works closely with all stakeholders to create sustainable solutions. Its headquarters is in Washington, D.C., and has field offices in Haiti, Colombia, the Dominican Republic and elsewhere. www.padf.org