Dear Friends of the What If Foundation,
As many of you know, I am of Haitian descent and have been a donor and supporter of the What If Foundation for several years. But as Interim Executive Director, I also have the honor of spending time with our partners Na Rive and listening first-hand to their challenges and hopes, their perspectives and their goals. A few weeks ago, I met with Lavarice Gaudin, Na Rive’s Program Director. We speak regularly, but seeing him in person always fills me with admiration, gratitude and hope. He is the kind of person we all aspire to be: one of integrity, conviction, and unfailing commitment. A wonderful partner and a true leader in the community.
As I talked to Lavarice about the current political and economic crisis in Haiti, my heart was breaking from the suffering so many kids and families are forced to endure, but I was also incredibly proud of the work we do and the direct impact we can have on the ground through the programs run by Na Rive. Especially in situations like this when it’s hard for outside resources to get to where they’re most needed. He said:
“This is the worst crisis we’ve seen in living memory. The 2010 earthquake was devastating but it was a natural occurrence. Today’s crisis is caused by a combination of systemic injustices, poor decisions, unfortunate events, and an overall lack of empathy from many different players, and the effects on the Haitian people are devastating. But our job is always to find the way around. People are coming to get food from far away, so we provide pantry items they can take with them. Most schools in Port-au-Prince are still closed, so we do our best to keep the doors of the Fr Jeri School open. Students are missing classes and falling behind for their final year exams, so we are figuring out how to help them study and prepare from home. Life must go forward. This time is a difficult step in Haiti’s path forward, but forward we will go.”
As we gather around this holiday season, I hope you’ll join us in helping Na Rive keep their hands and hearts reaching out to their community. Your enduring support is what strengthens their resolve to do so and makes everyday miracles possible.
On behalf of every child and family in Ti Plas Kazo, thank you for your enduring support and compassion.
Lespwa fe vi (where there is hope, there is life).
Interim Executive Director