9/2010 – UPDATE
I’ve been following this organization since I found CAN-DO in July. I continue to be impressed with how much CAN-DO can do with modest funding. On Founder Eric Klein’s Facebook, he talks about hiring electricians, installing boxes and lights all through the building for $500. This was just one check on the TO DO list for the Orphanage Revitalization Project which kicked off at Patience Orphanage earlier in the month. Local craftsmen built and installed kitchen cabinets for $625. Bunk beds and mattresses were found for little more than $300. And that electricity? First time this orphanage has ever had lights!
It’s been terrific to see their work unfold and I was and am so moved by their efforts that I donated $100 to their organization. I wanted to provide some help, and I have 100% confidence that my donation reached them and went into repairing that orphanage and putting a few smiles on some very special kids’ faces.
I don’t often use my blog to promote or publicize, but I feel very strongly that CAN-DO is the David versus the Goliath of NGOs. The big NGOs have collected millions of dollars in donations, filled up over 50 warehouses of goods, but have done very little to ensure that the assistance falls into the hands who need it. This is the biggest flaw in the system – accountability. And this is where CAN-DO comes in. This is very much a grassroots organization which was on the ground in Haiti just 72 hours after the quake, and has made several trips to distribute medical supplies and food, provide water, build structures, and now revitalize orphanages and build sustainable shelter. They work with and employ the locals, pay local companies to rent trucks, cut through red tape and deliver the goods where needed. As Founder, Eric Klein says in THIS VIDEO, “It’s not brain surgery.” It is refreshing to watch this organization’s “no-nonsense” approach and see real results.
If you’d like to visit the CAN-DO website to learn more, please go to: www.can-do.org.
I also enjoyed this video posted of a moment in the field.
If you’d like to learn more about their Haiti Domes Project (which is really cool) they have a dedicated site www.haitidomesproject.com
And finally, if you want to continue to follow CAN-DO’s projects in Haiti, you can Like them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/CanDo.Org or for tweeters follow @candoorg.
I’m really pleased to shine the spotlight on this organization. And when you take a moment to learn more, I think you, too, will become a huge fan of CAN-DO.ORG.
7/2010 – ORIGINAL POST
I was sitting in my hotel room excited that I had most of the evening to myself. Ms. Lan, who was with me in HCMC to conduct sales calls had plans for dinner with a travel agent who didn’t speak English and who claimed she already met me. So much for me trying to build relations.
As I normally do when I’m in a hotel room, I turned on CNN to catch up with my news. It was a brief segment on Haiti which caught my attention. The situation is still dire after six months and much of the aide that was sent is caught up in red tape, sitting in warehouses, not being delivered to the people in need. Good old Sanjay called on of his “contacts” who happened to be a guy who runs an organization which is actually bypassing all of the bureaucratic nonsense, putting donations to work by paying for trucks and labor, filling up the trucks with supplies and delivering them to the people. Sanjay happened to be at an orphanage which was desperate to feed hungry and malnourished children.
I sat back and thought to myself a bit. I’m ashamed that I haven’t really thought of Haiti too much recently. And yet here was a guy and an organization using personal and donated funds, risking personal safety and health and helping to clean up a complete and utter disaster. I looked down at my notes from my appointments, “Discussed contract rate which is always an issue. Market still price conscious. Low season lower than last year. Eager for specials and discounts. Look to get the charter and reply on series booking.” Wow. My “work” for the day seemed like blowing dust instead of moving mountains.
I did a bit more research on CAN-DO.ORG. I discovered that they’ve been helping with recovery efforts in Sri Lanka after the tsunami in 2004, with Hurricane Katrina, the Iowa floods and now very much so with Haiti, among a host of other programs. Impressive, to say the least.
I was compelled to write to the founder, Eric Klein, to lend moral support and congratulate him on his efforts and well as see how I might do some volunteer work, even from afar. It’s a sound organization, remaining accountable for the donations it receives by filming all the drops and deliveries. So in short turn around, you can see your name on a water or delivery truck which you helped pay for. They do this through their www.virtualvolunteer.tv channel, also posting updates and any news they are featured in.
You know sometimes we meet someone, see something, read or hear news which lends us those ah-ha moments in life, the epiphany that allows us to envision a better version of ourselves, to look up and admire someone and hope that we can possess just an ounce of that compassion and drive which makes them a truly remarkable person. That was me in my hotel room in HCMC, wishing I could be as bold and brave as those folks helping the Haitians.
I hope you’ll take a moment to visit this website, learn more about the good work these people are doing and hopefully make a donation so they can remain on the ground helping where it matters and really getting it done. If you’ve already made a donation to an NGO or NPO, I have to ask if you have followed up to ask where your money and contributions have gone? It’s very clear that there is a huge lack of accountability with far too many and even very large organizations. If you did already make a contribution, raise your voice and ask for a progress report. Because from what it appears on CNN and with reports from workers joining forces with CAN-DO.ORG, Haiti is off the radar, it’s been just six months since the earthquake and the people are still very much in need of help.