- Faith & Family
The small “island” of Haiti has the unfortunate distinction of being the poorest nation in the western hemisphere. But generations ago it was among the richest in the world. Recent data from the U.S. State Department shows that the average yearly income for Haitians is a paltry $400. But one local group based in Miami has taken on the charge of empowering Haitians economically while bringing needed relief in the form of an agricultural business.
“In Haiti, sometimes people wake up in the morning without knowing if they will have anything to eat all day,” said Wilky Lozandier, 58, president of Action Permanante Pour Le Developpement D’Aquin (APDA). “We have good land in Haiti that we can farm on to help feed these people. No one has tried to use that land. Our organization wants to develop agriculture in Haiti so that the people will be able to eat healthy meals on a regular basis.”
APDA first organized in 2008, registering with the Haitian government in 2009 and with the U.S. in 2010. APDA takes aim at several targets including agriculture and reforestation in urban and rural areas of Haiti. Although Lozandier said his organization was not affected by the 2010 earthquake that rocked the country he admits that policies with the government were a challenging issue.
“In the past, in Haiti, there have been too many political problems,” he said. “That made everyone stay away from any type of project whether it was positive or not. But right now with the new government things seem like they are beginning to get better. I have realized that every Haitian that is still living must contribute to a new Haiti.”
Currently, Lozandier operates his organization with a nine-person staff, but is excited about offering opportunity for people to be a part of his efforts.
“We are going to hire more people to get involved with helping us,” he said. “The nine people are like the head of the organization. As we add to our list of tasks we will need more people to join in on what we are trying to accomplish.”
In the future APDA plans to expand its focus to providing clean water and energy supplies to the people of Haiti.
For more information about APDA go to www.helpussavehaiti.com.
By Randy Grice