When National Peace Corps Association staff heard about the earthquake in Haiti late Tuesday afternoon, our thoughts immediately went to our former colleague, Matt Marek. Matt served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Haiti from 2000 to 2002* and worked for NPCA as our Operations Manager for two years. He was and is passionate about Haiti, and with fellow Haiti RPCVs founded Haiti Innovation, an all-volunteer, non-profit consultancy offering technical expertise and in depth knowledge of Haitian developmental challenges and solutions.
Matt returned to Haiti and most recently has been working as Head of Programs for Haiti American Red Cross International Services. He now finds himself in the midst of a disaster of unimaginable proportions. (You can read more about his work on the Red Cross website. Read an update here.)
We got word from Haiti Innovation's Bryan Schaaf that "Matt is ok." He continued, "Responders, including Red Cross, are overwhelmed. Please encourage members to make cash contributions to provides who are already on the ground. This includes WFP, UNICEF, Care, Save the Children, and many others. Thank you!" [People interested in making contributions to aid Haiti may wish to visit Charity
Navigator, an independent charity evaluator.]
Meanwhile, Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of Washington DC has just announced that this evening’s already scheduled Happy Hour will be a fundraiser for Haiti earthquake relief efforts. The Friends of Haiti RPCV group will be in attendance to share what information they have been able to uncover regarding the situation and relief efforts.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Haiti, as well as with the RPCVs who served there and have lost friends and loved ones.
[*Peace Corps does not currently have a program in Haiti, but was in the country during the periods 1982-87, 1990-91 and 1996-2005.]
UPDATE: See Matt interviewed by Anderson Cooper on CNN about coordinating earthquake relief.