Stressing the remarkable progress Haiti has made since the fateful earthquake in 2010, Sean Penn, CEO & Founder of the J/P Haitian Relief Organization (J/P HRO), called on the international community to continue its support to the Caribbean nation as it experiences a rebirth of sorts.
Speaking at the World Bank headquarters, Penn said that now is the time to seize opportunities in Haiti, a nation which can provide “incredible value” to other countries as well as to itself, especially by virtue of its private sector, Penn said.
“Haitians are ready and willing to be the soldiers of change,” he noted. “We need to identify them, work with them and be willing to accept their guidance.”
Penn, who founded the J/P HRO in the wake of the 2010 quake, spoke candidly to Hasan Tuluy, World Bank Vice-President for Latin America and the Caribbean about his experiences in the country.
Arriving in Haiti a week after the earthquake with the sole objective of distributing morphine and ketamine to emergency trauma units within the country, Penn initially expected to stay for just two weeks. But as the tide began to turn and the emergency relief organizations began to leave, he decided to stay, working with local Haitians to build J/P HRO.
J/P HRO is dedicated to saving lives and bringing sustainable programs to the Haitian people quickly and effectively. J/P HRO works with both government and non-government agencies to deliver immediate results where the need is greatest. Principle efforts include providing emergency medical and primary care services, delivering badly needed medical equipment and medicine, rubble removal facilitating community regeneration, management of Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps, distributing food and water purification systems, improving communication systems, and developing housing and education facilities.
The goal of J/P HRO is to support the residents of the camps they manage and surrounding areas transition from life left homeless by the earthquake to durable, sustainable and prosperous communities.
With a staff nearly 400 strong and 98 percent Haitian, J/P HRO continues to evolve as an organization renowned for sustainable, community-driven development.