Help Haiti Rebuild


Alex Counts is President and CEO of Grameen Foundation, and the author of “Small Loans, Big Dreams: How Nobel Prize Winner Muhammad Yunus and Microfinance are Changing the World” (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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Battling the odds has never been a new concept to the people of Haiti.Fifty-eight percent of the country’s population is undernourished. Fifty-four percent live on less than US$1.25 a day.

Damage from Haiti's 7.0 magnitude earthquake

Damage from Haiti's 7.0 magnitude earthquake

But despite these conditions, Haiti has also had to endure a number of natural disasters—most recently, a 7.0-magnitude earthquake that struck Tuesday, January 12, near Port-au-Prince. Damage from the worst earthquake in 250 years has been described as “unimaginable” and “incomprehensible.” All hospitals were leveled by the disaster, and a devastating death toll is expected, potentially in the hundreds of thousands.  The archbishop of Port au Prince is one of those whose lives have been lost, and the offices of the World Bank and InterAmerican Development Bank have been destroyed.

No nation can be prepared for devastation that seemingly occurs within the blink of an eye.  But Grameen Foundation and its partner Fonkoze have experience working on the ground in Haiti to help citizens recover from such disasters. In response to hurricanes Gustav, Hanna, and Ike that struck the country in 2008, our partner Fonkoze developed Kredi Siklon, a one-time “hurricane loan” program for affected borrowers to access additional microloans to get their businesses up and running again so they could pay back their original loans over time as well as these supplemental loans. Close to 14,000 women took advantage of the program. We also presented Fonkoze with a $50,000 emergency grant to support its hurricane relief efforts, and one of our staff was serving as their Interim Chief Financial Officer at the time.

destroyed building in Port-au-Prince, Haiti

Port-au-Prince, Haiti

For years, Grameen Foundation and Fonkoze have been using microfinance and technology to help Haitians—especially women—move themselves out of poverty.  With programs like Chemen Lavi Miyò, Fonkoze provides women with training, one-on-one supervision and encouragement, confidence building, and other services to prepare them to enter a lending program with an MFI.

Last year, Yeardley Smith, the voice of Lisa Simpson on the award-winning animated television series, The Simpsons, accompanied me to Haiti to witness how microfinance and free health and literacy services improve the quality of life for Haitian women and their families.  Her passion for the impact of microfinance inspired her to make a combined donation of $1.14 million to Grameen Foundation and Fonkoze.

The odds are stacked against Haiti now more than ever.  Among other impacts, Fonkoze’s head office complex is now uninhabitable.  Please help us help the nation recover from this recent disaster and try, as hard as it may be to imagine, to help our local partners build a Haiti that is more prosperous than pre-earthquake conditions.

Leave words of hope and encouragement for the survivors of earthquake in the comments section of this blog post.

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15 Responses to “Help Haiti Rebuild”

  1. Friend of Grameen Says:

    You are in my thoughts and prayers. You are not alone – the world will be there to help you through this.

  2. Christina Says:

    We are praying for you. And we are sending help. Your resilience is an inspiration to all of us. God bless you.

  3. Tricia Medrano Bridges Says:

    Donors and friends of The Chiapas Project in Dallas, Texas are sending prayers for the people of Haiti. We will promote donations through the Grameen Foundation for Haiti, FonkozeUSA for our microfinance clients and Sove Lavi a medical clinic in Haiti.

    Please donate, every dollar will count!

  4. Reverend Jean Balizou Says:

    All of us here in Africa are seing what is happening in your country. We feel the same pain with you. Eventhough we are also in needs not knowing how to help you, we are praying for you. Remember ” ¶Fear thou not, for I am with thee; be not dismayed, for I am thy God; I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.” What men cannot do for you, only God can do it. God bless you. Right from Bangui, Central African Republic

  5. Mirvat Hafi Says:

    even if we are far apart, you are in my prayers.
    Hope I can be with you to ease your pain.

  6. Claire Brown Says:

    The world is with you! Your pain is our pain and we will send help! Please stay strong for those around you! And I promise not to forget you! You are strong and you will survive! Have faith!!!

  7. Peg Ross Says:

    The people of Haiti, and those who will respond with direct on-the-ground support, are in our thoughts and prayers.

  8. Kay Hixson Says:

    To the people of Haiti, words cannot express the pain I feel for you. But I also know that you are resilient and have the focus and tenacity to overcome the odds. And to the relief workers, a special thanks for running headlong into danger and risking your lives for people you have never met. I wish all of you a safe journey through a tragic time. Much Peace and light!

  9. Kazi Rouf Says:

    Hello Haitian sisters and brothers,
    Please be strive and strong in this earth quack catastrophe. Life is full of challenge. Now you are facing one of the challenges in your life. Bangladeshi poor women facing flood every year; they challenge it and win it. Like them, you shall be successful by the grace of God too. You are with your center people. Please make network with them and collectively face it. You can make lessons for others and build a history in the world. If Bangladesh poor women can make, you can too.
    Warm regards from Toronto.
    Kazi Rouf

  10. michaelmfc Says:

    The daily grind of poverty does not make the headlines as readily as a sudden onslaught of tragedy. Unfortunately, it often requires a dramatic event to focus our attention on the misery of others. Their daily suffering goes unreported and therefore is ignored. Tragedy that happens in slow motion does not garner the headlines the way a single climatic moment does. But it is human suffering all the same. It requires a continuous response to alleviate the day in and day out agony just as a sudden disaster requires immediate action. In nations where poverty is rampant, any type of natural disaster is magnified many times over. The sub-standard infrastructure, the shoddily constructed housing, the lack of government oversight all contribute to make the death toll climb. These are issues that need to be addressed BEFORE a disaster strikes. That is why making a monthly contribution to fight poverty in Haiti and other places is so important. It is wonderful that humanity responds so well in times of emergency, but we need to realize that a steady effort is required to erase poverty and its effects. A long term effort is necessary to help people survive the next disaster.

  11. anna gonzales Says:


  12. JANET FLOYD Says:

    My heart and prayers goes out to the whole country and the peolpe there and especially the kids. Stay strong and just keep saying your prayers and GOD will answer them. You’re not along I may not be there with you but I’m there in spirit and I’m hurting too. Since this happen I have been saying ” THE OUR FATHER PRAYER” and that’s my favorite prayer when things in my life don’t go right, I say that pray and I believe my prayers will be answered. You must have FAITH AND BELIEVE IN GOD BECAUSE HE HOLDS THE POWER TO EVERYTHING.

    Stay Strong & Prayed Up

  13. Shellz Says:

    Please keep your head up, we all love you and are praying for you! people are helping everyday, rather it be through telethons, material/monatary donations, and of course the wonderful people that are actually there and lending there services…….help is on the way, i know it may seem hard right now, but please keep your faith…….God loves you, and so do we!

    Love ‘

  14. demek Says:

    gets do you best

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