is happening in Haiti and what can we do about it?
Marieke van Woerkom
Share what they know about the earthquake in Haiti
Practice their active listening skills
Learn some of Haiti's history--its suffering, the resilience of its people, its
rich cultural heritage
Learn about proverbs and their cultural relevance
Consider quotes from the news and watch a short video clip about the earthquake
Brainstorm about what students might do to help the people of Haiti
Take a moment of silence for the victims of the quake
and Emotional Skills:
listening skills and sharing feelings
aware of and going beyond stereotypes
Taking action on behalf of those who need our help
agenda on chart paper or on the board
Worksheet of Quotes from the News
Video clip at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HgQd0K5W0vI&feature=player_embedded
Blog posts at: http://www.oursoil.org/
your students to share what they've heard about the earthquake in Haiti. Gather
information: Find out what your students know, what they don't know and get a
gauge on how they're dealing with the news of this disaster. Ask them how they're
feeling about it.
you have students in your classroom who might have family or loved ones in Haiti,
give them an opportunity to share what they know and what they've been going through
this past week. Of course this requires a safe class environment where community
practices/group agreements have been established and students are able to listen
actively to each other with empathy and compassion.
in mind that students with a personal connection to Haiti may need individual
attention and support . But simply being able to share their story, their concerns,
and their feelings in a safe environment where others pay attention and listen
can be important for students going through a difficult time like this. Sharing
like this also promotes empathy, understanding and support from classmates, who
may have been afraid to broach the subject by themselves.
Explain that in today's lesson you'll
be talking about what happened in Haiti this past week. Haiti is a country on
an island in the Caribbean. If you have a map in your classroom, point out Haiti's
location, showing how close it is to the United States. The island is shared with
another country called the Dominican Republic. Haiti is a poor country economically.
But it has a very rich cultural history.
history for the older grades: Like the Americans, the Haitians fought for their
independence against European colonizers. The U.S.declared independence from Britain
in 1776. Shortly afterwards, Haiti declared its independence from France. Haiti
officially became independent in 1804--making it the first independent country
in Latin America and the first post-colonial country in the world led by people
of African descent. Haiti is also the only country ever whose independence was
gained through a successful slave rebellion.
though these are things to celebrate, the fight for independence left the country
in ruins. Haiti's farmland was destroyed and there was little to no trade. Most
of Haiti's people were uneducated and unskilled, so building up this newly independent
country was extremely difficult.
has faced many other challenges in its 206-year history, including many natural
and manmade disasters.
before this latest earthquake struck on January 12, 2010, life in Haiti was very
hard for most people. While the media and the cameras are likely to move on from
this disaster zone in the coming weeks, it will take years, if not decades, for
Haiti to recover from this devastation.
beyond Mountains (10 minutes)
is a country of great beauty with a strong cultural history that includes French,
African, native Taino, and some Spanish influences. Haitians have many proverbs
that reflect their country's diverse culture and its many hardships. One famous
proverb is: "Beyond the mountain is another mountain."
students: What do you think this means?
students understand that this proverb may refer to obstacles and challenges that
have faced Haiti throughout its long history.
students: What challenges do you think the proverb is referring to?
of your students may remember the series of hurricanes that hit Haiti in the fall
of 2008. The country had not yet recovered from these storms when a massive earthquake
hit on January 12, 2010. And though the earthquake was enormous (the most powerful
to have hit the country in its 206-year existence), it is important for your students
to realize that much of the damage that resulted was due to the country's extreme
before the earthquake, 75% of the buildings in Haiti were considered to be unsafe.
It is in large part because of the poor construction that so many buildings fell
down in the quake.
already poorly equipped port and airport have been further damaged in the quake.
So they have not been able to deal with all the people trying to come into the
country from abroad to help out. It has also been hard for the country to receive
the shipments of food, water, medicine, and medical machinery intended to help
quake victims. The roads have been blocked and the communications networks are
of these problems are the result of Haiti's longstanding poverty. As a result
the number of dead and injured will be much higher than if a similar earthquake
had hit the United States.
Quotes from the News (19 minutes)
some or all of the quotes from the worksheet below or ask some volunteers to read
them to the class.
clip was chosen for younger students: It shows material damage and chaos resulting
from the earthquake, not images of people who were injured or killed.
students break into groups of four. Ask the groups to discuss the quotes and the
clip by responding to some or all of the following questions:
stood out for you?
surprised you in these quotes?
did you learn?
did it make you feel?
about 8 minutes, have students come back together as a full group and ask for
volunteers from each group to share something they discussed in their small group.
ways your students think they might be able to help the people of Haiti.
students that even though there is an urgent need right now, the people of Haiti
will need our help for some time to come. Beyond the large first responder organizations
like the Red Cross, Doctors Without Borders, Partners in Health and CARE, some
smaller organizations are working in Haiti long-term, not only helping with disaster
relief but also helping to rebuild the country. When the first responders leave
and Haiti is out of the public eye again, these organizations will carry on. Among
MADRE concentrates on meeting the needs of those who are made most vulnerable
by disaster--namely, women and their children. Learn more about MADRE's work in
Haiti and donate at: http://www.madre.org/index.php?s=4&news=266
Lasante, a project of Partners in Health (co-founded by Dr. Paul Farmer) has
worked in Haiti for nearly 25 years. It is now among the largest non-governmental
healthcare providers in the country. "We are unique in what we have to offer,
but our ability to continue to be effective depends on you," states the organization's
website. Learn more about Partners in Healths work in Haiti and donate at:
Haiti is an international organization that works to end child poverty. Plan
has been working in Haiti for 36 years and has more than 140 staff on the ground,
including in remote parts of Haiti few other organizations can reach. Learn more
about Plan Haiti and donate at: http://plan-international.org/where-we-work/americas/haiti
Fund for Women has supported 18 women and children's organizations in Haiti
over the years. After the earthquake, this organization will help rebuild women's
organizations and communities in Haiti. Learn more about the Global Fund for Women
and donate at: http://www.globalfundforwomen.org/cms/
Lambi Fund of Haiti - The Lambi Fund's mission is to "assist the popular,
democratic movement in Haiti" by supporting community-based organizations.
Learn more about the Lambi Fund of Haiti and donate at: http://www.lambifund.org/
( Sustainable Organic Integrated Livelihoods) is a "non-profit organization
dedicated to protecting soil resources, empowering communities and transforming
wastes into resources in Haiti.... we strive to help individuals to realize their
innate talents and to become a part of creating social change in their communities."
Learn more about SOIL and donate at: http://www.oursoil.org/
your students to observe a minute of silence for the victims of the earthquake
in Haiti this past week.
further educate your students about Haiti and to humanize the disaster, use some
of the recent posts about the quake on the SOIL website at: http://www.oursoil.org/.
The posts describe life in Haiti in a very personal non-sensationalistic way,
promoting empathy and concern for the victims of the quake.
Quotes from the News
Caudle, who was born in Haiti and now lives in Illinois, is worried about the
fate of children at a Haitian school she helped found::
hard part is not knowing what's going on," said Ruth Caudle. "I pray
there are no casualties [wounded and dead] and just keep trying to call. I'm sad
and anxious at the same time." Caudle also said she was concerned with portrayals
of Haiti as a violent country. She said Haitians are working together. "People
are out there digging with their hands, they want to help," she said. "Haitians
are helping out each other, not hurting each other."
to 100,000 people may have died in the Haiti earthquake, the Pan American Health
Organization has said, as the UN launches an appeal for more than $550 million
variety of sources are estimating the numbers [at] between 50,000 and 100,000,"
said Jon Andrus of PAHO, the Americas arm of the World Health Organization.
Obama said the U.S. would do everything it could to get the country back on its
feet. "The scale of the devastation is extraordinary ... and the losses are
heartbreaking," he said at the White House.
share the pain and sorrow felt by millions of people in Haiti as they deal with
this tragedy and the unimaginable destruction of their country. And in this time
of crisis, we also want to salute the citizens of this resilient nation - a nation
that has worked to rebuild itself many times throughout a history of turmoil.
We stand with the people and government of Haiti and we join the international
community in the commitment to doing everything possible to help them overcome
Godfrey, an American contractor working for the U.S. Agency for International
Development, said that within minutes of the quake, "a huge plume [cloud]
of dust and smoke rose up over the city - a blanket that completely covered the
city and obscured it for about 20 minutes."
President] Preval, unsure of where he would sleep after his home and the presidential
palace were destroyed, painted a scene of utter devastation. "Parliament
has collapsed. The tax office has collapsed. Schools have collapsed. Hospitals
have collapsed," he told the Miami Herald.
Haitian people are a really courageous people, and in the past, when we have been
hit hard, we come back fighting," Raymond Joseph, Haitian ambassador in Washington,
told The Boston Globe. "We'll live through this."
Cedamou, the 33-year-old owner of a small water delivery company, twice drove
his small tanker truck to a tent camp where thousands of homeless people are living.
Hundreds clustered around to fill their plastic buckets. "This is a crisis
of unspeakable magnitude; it's normal for every Haitian to help," Cedamou
said. "This is not charity."
the death and destruction, hundreds of people, mostly women, took to the streets
in an area of the capital on Friday, singing and chanting as they marched down
the street - a sign of resilience amid huge mounds of rubble. It is not the first
time such a display has been observed. Singing and clapping has been heard well
into the night in a large square that thousands of people have made home after
the earthquake, a CNN crew reported.