MoU for Haiti relief effort

Alabama, United States
3rd May 2010

Furthering efforts to rebuild Haiti after the earthquake, the Art of Living founder, Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for Haiti relief with North Miami Mayor, Andre D. Pierre, Esq. on April 27. The aim of the MoU is to accelerate the relief work in Haiti and provide sustainable solutions that address the specific challenges in the country.

The MoU includes trauma relief measures for the Haitian Diaspora, who are reconstructing their lives in a new environment. Special stress and trauma relief courses will be conducted for the affected people to deal with post traumatic stress disorders (PTSD). Stress management workshops will also be offered to community service providers. Yoga, meditation and breath techniques will prevent compassion fatigue and increase levels of efficiency at work.

Relief work is already being conducted in Haiti through the International Association for Human Values (IAHV), Art of Living’s sister organization.

The first phase of the relief work involved the distribution of materials such as food, garments and medicines.

Trauma relief workshops were also conducted, which helped the affected people cope with the psychological shock of losing their loved ones and the security of their homes. Many local Art of Living volunteers, who survived the quake, visited hospitals, counseled refugees and helped people stay calm during the aftershocks.

The second phase entails empowering the residents to carry out long-term, sustainable solutions to rebuild the country. Called Nouvelle Vie Youth Corps, this project envisions training 50 Haitian youth in relief work. These youth will undergo the Youth Leadership Training Program (YLTP), conduct trauma relief in camps and communities, and undertake food and water security measures as well as community rebuilding.

This project seeks to address the challenges of the post-acute phase of Haiti relief work, including strain on the degrading ecosystem, extreme sanitation problems and inadequate living infrastructure. Research suggests that these challenges will be reduced if residents adopt practices to produce their own food and clean water and if sustainably-designed infrastructure is built. Members of Nouvelle Vie Youth Corps will train residents in cultivating small-scale home and community gardens and will help create infrastructure for clean water and sanitation (composting toilets).

The IAHV has been active in Haiti since 2007 when it first began reforestation work. Over two years, 350 youth have been trained through the YLTP in five regions of Haiti: Cap Haitien, Mirebalais, Hinche, Carrefour and Les Cayes.

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Watch the video Haiti: Nouvelle Vie Youth Corps