Haiti was brought to the attention of the world by its disastrous 2010 earthquake that killed over 200,000 and stripped homes from another million. Charitable contributions and foreign aid swelled, yet nearly five years later, Haiti continues to struggle to make a dent in the conditions that keep 80% of the population living in poverty. More charity is not the answer. Instead, the way to change Haiti is to build a strong economy by leveraging its existing resources. Michel Martelly, President of Haiti, summarizes what is needed perfectly, “Instead of selling our problems and trying to attract pity or charity, let’s sell what we have that’s great and exploit that, so we can get funds and change Haiti.
The economic transformation of Haiti has begun. According to the IMF, Haiti’s economy is among the fastest growing in the Caribbean and foreign investment has increased from $29 million in 2009 to $220 million in 2014. Yet, unemployment and homelessness remains high. Why? Haiti’s towns lack thriving businesses that employ local people. Fortunately, Haiti is rich in aspiring and creative entrepreneurs. That’s where Build and Bridge comes in.