Before Haiti was hit by an earthquake so devastating that the whole world paid notice to that impoverished and frequently neglected land, the singer Wyclef Jean organized the Yele Haiti movement to promote education, health care, environmental protection and community development on the island.
Operating on a model that Jean says delivers 100 percent of donations to assigned projects, Yele Haiti has always made it easy to get money quickly to the people who need it most.
After this week’s earthquake hit Haiti, the singer appeared on CNN to describe his communications with people on the ground. Here’s the interview with Jean.
Shortly after completing the interview, the former leader of the Fugees made his way to his native land, from which he posted a message that:
Haiti today faced a natural disaster of unprecedented proportion, an earthquake unlike anything the country has ever experienced.
The magnitude 7.0 earthquake – and several very strong aftershocks – struck only 10 miles from Port-au-Prince.
I cannot stress enough what a human disaster this is, and idle hands will only make this tragedy worse. The over 2 million people in Port-au-Prince tonight face catastrophe alone. We must act now.
President Obama has already said that the U.S. stands ‘ready to assist’ the Haitian people. The U.S. Military is the only group trained and prepared to offer that assistance immediately. They must do so as soon as possible. The international community must also rise to the occasion and help the Haitian people in every way possible.”
Many people have already reached out to see what they can do right now. We are asking those interested to please do one of two things: Either you can use your cell phone to text “Yele” to 501501, which will automatically donate $5 to the Yele Haiti Earthquake Fund (it will be charged to your cell phone bill), or you can visit Yele.org and click on DONATE.
There are many worthy ways to help Haiti, which my colleague Peter Rothberg has well outlined. But Jean is in something of a unique position, as he points out that he’s already working with programs that are in place in the country and that he is on the ground raising the call for emergency aid.