Students launch Haiti relief effort

Group planning series of fundraising events, including May 1 gala

Nearly two dozen Brandeis students have formed a campus group to aid victims of last month’s earthquake that ravaged the Caribbean nation of Haiti.

The group, Brandeis Haiti Relief Effort (BHRE), will focus on fundraising, increasing awareness about Haiti and celebrating the country’s rich cultural history.

Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, was rocked by a 7.0 earthquake on Jan. 12 that killed more than 200,000 people and left 1 million homeless.

BHRE, led by Nate Rosenblum ’10 and Shaina Gilbert ’10, has so far raised almost $8,000 from Brandeis students, faculty and staff.

The group is tentatively planning a black-tie benefit gala for local alumni and friends on May 1. Plans call for a sit-down dinner, musical entertainment and a silent auction. More details will be announced in coming weeks. BHRE is seeking a graduate to match the funds raised at the event. Companies willing to donate services and supplies for catering, entertainment and decorations should contact BHRE.

"Supporting the people of Haiti is extremely important at this time,” said Gilbert, a Haitian-American who last summer launched the Empowering Through Education (ETE) camp in her mother’s hometown of Hinche, Haiti, while serving as a Louis D. Brandeis Legacy Fund for Social Justice intern. “The entire nation, from its destroyed capital to its now overpopulated and underresourced villages and provinces, needs a great deal of assistance.

“Beyond the lack of the infrastructure to guide its population out of its trauma and devastation and toward its rebirth, Haitians in Haiti are struggling with the lack of the resources to survive and carry on the legacy of the nation,” Gilbert added. “Without this rebirth and continuation of their legacy, future generations of Haitians and Haitian-Americans will be lost and not even know it.”

“We’re trying to find a way to help the people of Haiti who were devastated by this earthquake,” said Jon Ostrowsky ’13. “We’re trying to give back any way that we can.”

Each of the organizations is based in Haiti and will provide long-term support for the people of the country through education, health care and empowerment. Proceeds from the Brandeis Haiti Relief Effort will support three different Haitian relief efforts — Partners in Health, ETE Camp and Hope for Haiti.

For more information about BHRE, contact Rosenblum or Gilbert. For information about alumni fundraising or the May 1 event, contact Ostrowsky.

Those interested in making a gift should write a check to Brandeis University with “Brandeis Haiti Relief Effort” written in the memo field. Send checks to Lucas Malo, Brandeis University, Department of Community Service, MS 203, 415 South St., Waltham, MA 02453.

For more information on the Brandeis Haiti Relief Effort, visit the BHRE Web site.

Return to the BrandeisNOW homepage