Aid does not necessarily mean losing Dignity

March 20, 2017

What I learned from Konbit Sante in general is that aid does not necessarily mean losing dignity. This partnership is respectful and the most important thing is that we, the Haitians, decide for ourselves.”


Two weeks ago, I returned to Portland to attend Konbit Sante’s 15 anniversary celebration events.  It was wonderful to see and spend time with the donors, volunteers and staff who have shaped and guided Konbit Sante’s unique experiment in global health practice from the start.  The highlight of the events, for me and I believe most people in attendance, was the opportunity to hear our former colleagues, Dr. Youseline Telemaque and Dr. Edris Mathieu, speak.  In eloquent, incisive, and heart-felt speeches, they addressed a variety of topics ranging from foreign aid and health care in Haiti to their impression of Konbit Sante’s role and impact in strengthening the health system in northern Haiti. 
 

Dr. Youseline Telemaque speaks to the audience at Konbit Sante's 15th Anniversary Event. Photo by:  Arthur Fink
 

Upon returning to Cap-Haitien, I continue to reflect on their speeches, especially these lines from Dr. Telemaque’s speech:

“I left my family, my work, my comfort to come and convey our thanks, our appreciation and especially to tell you that you bring the kind of help we need.” 
 
What I learned from Konbit Sante in general is that aid does not necessarily mean losing dignity. This partnership is respectful and the most important thing is that we, the Haitians, decide for ourselves.”
 
“This partnership with Konbit Sante makes us grow instead of weakening us.”

We work in a complex environment with many challenges and few easy victories.  So, it’s heartening to hear from a respected colleague that what we do (“bring the kind of help we need”) and how we do it (“Haitians decide for ourselves”) has significant, if not easily measurable, impact on the lives of the people we touch (“ makes us grow instead of weakening us”).  For this, and many other reasons, I am proud to be part of the Konbit family.  And, I thank Wendy and Michael Taylor, Steve and Polly Larned, Nate Nickerson, our incredible board, staff, volunteers, and of course, donors, for making this work possible. 
 
Sincerely,


Tezita Negussie
Konbit Sante Country Director

P.S. We invite you to take part in our 8th Annual Maine Walks with Haiti event Saturday, May 13, 2017. There are many ways for supporters to get involved, see below for details.