Additional Information from Director Aaron S. Williams on Haiti
January 15, 2010Dear Peace Corps Community—I am writing in response to the generous offers of support we have received at Peace Corps regarding the recent tragedy in Haiti. I lived and worked in Haiti for four years and continue to care deeply about the country and its people. It is difficult to observe a tragedy like this from afar. As a member of the Peace Corps family, I imagine you are considering ways that you and Peace Corps can help.
Peace Corps is working with other federal government agencies to see what we can do to provide assistance. It will take time for us to assess what Peace Corps might be able to do in the future. Peace Corps does not currently have a program in Haiti and is not an organization with first-responder expertise. We do, however, have some suggestions that you might want to consider if you are looking for ways to help the communities of Haiti.
1. Contribute: Monetary contributions are the lifeblood of many relief organizations.
- You can donate to Red Cross Haiti relief efforts immediately, by simply texting "HAITI" to "90999". A donation of $10 will be given automatically to the Red Cross to help with relief efforts, charged to your cell phone bill.
- You can also donate toward other relief organizations working in the affected region, Red Cross International Response Fund, and/or other charities of your personal choice.
2. Volunteering: Volunteer opportunities in disaster settings are extremely rare and are usually limited to people with prior disaster experience and technical skills
- To register your skills and experience for a possible volunteer opportunity, go to the Center for International Disaster Information's registration page.
- Peace Corps Response: While formal partnerships with Haiti relief organizations have not been established, Peace Corps is currently assessing how we can be helpful in the future. I encourage all Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs) interested in possible short-term, high impact assignments in Haiti or other programs around the world to apply to Peace Corps Response. As an RPCV, you have the opportunity to serve again by putting your skills and experience to good use in the places where you are needed the most.
Over 500 Americans have served in Haiti as Peace Corps Volunteers and Haiti will forever be a part of the Peace Corps family. On behalf of the Peace Corps, I extend my deepest sympathies to the people of Haiti, including the local staff and communities that hosted our Volunteers in the past.
Thank you for your spirit of generosity.
Aaron S. Williams