Sean Penn is another tireless advocate for Haiti. His organization, J/P HRO has done admirable work in Northern Haiti to feed, house and educate displaced Haitian families. Like HEI, Penn takes an integrated approach to solving problems and calls Haitian government and foreign aid program successes and failures exactly as he sees them. In this article, he challenges popular media images of Haiti as unchanged and points to advances in health care, housing, and urban renewal. Nevertheless, he points to the continuing spread of cholera as an urgent issue. In the Jacmel region, our partners and the children we serve also suffer from malaria, dengue fever and have recently been set back by the spread of chikungunya. This is a new mosquito-born virus that causes a high fever, severe joint pain, a measles-like rash and prolonged exhaustion. We desperately hope the children will recover in time to take and pass their end of year exams. Nothing in Haiti is easy and yet the Haitian people are coping with courage and patience. Penn is right: they deserve recognition for their achievements and support in addressing the problems that remain. HEI is committed to staying in Jacmel to continue the advances our Haitian partners have made to give impoverished children a better future through education.
To read Sean Penn’s article click here.