Today, Raices announced that it will donate the nonpolitical humanitarian relief supplies to the people of Haiti in this time of uncertainty and loss.
ROOTS OF HOPE DONATES HUMANITARIAN AID IN SOLIDARITY WITH THE HAITIAN PEOPLE
(Miami, FL) During this time of great need and tragic loss, our thoughts and prayers are with the Haitian people. In a gesture of friendship and solidarity, Roots of Hope would like to offer more than nine pallets -valued at approximately $150,000- worth of humanitarian aid to help in the relief and recovery efforts in Haiti.The aid, originally intended to go to Cuba, was collected and cataloged by Roots of Hope in response to the hurricanes that devastated the island in 2008.
Despite our exhaustive efforts over the course of a year to place the much needed aid in the hands of the Cuban people, the Cuban government rejected the shipment based on what they are calling "political reasons." We believe there is nothing political about the humanitarian needs of the Cuban people. This denial of aid demonstrates a complete disregard for the needs of Cubans on the island. Since the Cuban government made it impossible to send the humanitarian relief, Roots of Hope looked outside of Cuba and
identified with Haiti. We feel it's important to donate these materials to our Haitian brothers and sisters who are faced with extreme recovery efforts in the aftermath of a devastating natural disaster. Roots of Hope thanks the more than 300 volunteers who collected, cataloged and packaged the aid for their incredible generosity and selfless sacrifice.
We extend our deep and sincere condolences to the friends and families of the victims and offers this aid with love, friendship and hope for the Haitian community.
The decision that the nine pallets of humanitarian aid, consisting of about 6,000 pounds of clothes, shoes, linens, food and toiletries, will be sent to Haiti has evoked a mixed emotion for me. In the course of the past year, I joined hundreds of my fellow Roots working for countless hours to inventory the aid. During seven different day-long efforts, we sorted and counted individual piece after piece after piece of aid, in order to comply with the standards required to send the aid with our pre-approved license. We lifted and weighed box after box after box after box, sweating through our clothes in that unairconditioned sauna-like warehouse during a Miami summer.
I never heard one complaint.
Despite the grueling and unbelievably tedious nature of the work, and the less than favorable conditions, our Roots put their heads down with a collective and quiet resolve and passion unlike any I have ever experienced. It resounded with me deeply the level of passion our volunteers had, that they would go through this type of taxing work without a peep, because of their unwavering passion and care for Cuba and Cuban youth.
Last February we received a humanitarian license and pre-approval to send aid. So we proceeded to collect and inventory our nine pallets’ worth of aid. Yet despite doing everything right and complying with the rules as they were laid out to us, we were arbitrarily denied by the Cuban government when it came time to deliver. We then tried month after month after month, speaking with and trying to work with NGOs, trying to find avenues, trying different and creative means to get it there, but the bottom line was that the Cuban government refused our aid and made it impossible for us to send it.
Given this roadblock and the situation in Haiti, which is by any definition and without exaggeration, a heartbreaking and devastating catastrophe, Raices made the decision to move forward with using the aid in a different manner. There is undoubtedly an urgent pressing need given the degree of pain, loss and suffering currently being experienced only miles South and East of Cuba. Our organization is founded on Amor, Amistad y Esperanza- Love, Friendship and Hope- and given the historic situation, we wish to extend these sentiments to our suffering brothers and sisters in Haiti. We can continue to negotiate with the slim hope that an opportunity presents itself at some unknown time in the future, while the aid continues to sit in a warehouse, or we can put the materials to use where they can have a profound and immediate impact- with the people of Haiti who are going through such inconceivable pain.
Our hearts and prayers are with the people and youth of Haiti, and despite the adversity and obstacles, Raices will remain unwavering in its efforts to help Cuban youth.