Initiative Diapason Tunes Up for Haiti

When Haiti makes the headline news for a couple of months, you can imagine how bad things must be on this troubled island, which has now become fertile ground for some 9000 NGOs.

It is the early morning of January 13, 2010 that I get a call from Andrew. He wants to know whether or not I had heard of the earthquake which had hit Haiti the day before. Since I am on my way to work, I promise to get back to him later. Upon getting home that afternoon, I realize that Haiti is all over the media. It does not take long for the panic to set in.

It is just a matter of days before wild estimates begin to surface. One news headline puts the fatalities at 10,000. Then another one suggests that the number could be as high as 100,000. Then I say to myself that the extra zero must be a typo. Unfortunately, it’s not. By the time the last dead are accounted for, roughly a quarter of a million will have perished. One thing is for certain, this natural catastrophe has reminded us how precious and fragile human life is.

Friends, colleagues, and people I barely know are reaching out to help me cope during the week that I am unable to reach my loved ones in Haiti. Just like so many others, I grieve and complain about what is being done (or the lack thereof) to help those in need. Crying won’t raise the dead, goes the Haitian saying (Kriye pa leve lanmo).

People chip in in whatever ways they can. Some of you may recall my personal endorsement for established organisations such as the Red Cross. A number of you help in smaller but personal ways. I can think of my friend Corrine, whose ten-year-old boy takes the initiative to bake cookies for fundraising at his school.  Others create and sell colorful blue and red bracelets. A school principal calls me to ask what she ought to do with the money that her students have collected. Some University of Lowell alumni contact me via the social networks, to confirm that I am alive. People from all corners of the world express their support. These are just a few of the small yet meaningful gestures of solidarity.

After a period of stumbling, I have joined forces with some partners in putting together a non-profit organisation named Initiative Diapason. Initiative Diapason (ID) proposes an alternative yet worthwhile contribution to help Haiti pick up the pieces in the aftermath of the January 12, 2010 earthquake. Particularly, ID favors an investment in human resources, which are essential to sustainable development. Recognizing the importance of human creativity, ID is dedicated to supporting competencies in the arts and the performing arts as an alternative way forward. A website is set to launch very soon. All I ask you is to stand with Haiti. How can you help? Visit our website for details: www.initiativediapason.org.

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