40th Tikkun Olam Award to American Jewish World Service

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We are deeply thankful for receiving the Tikkun Olam Award from the Haiti Holocaust refugee project. Our work is inspired by Judaism’s commitment to pursue justice and repair the world, and we believe that Jewish history teaches us to respect and fight for the rights of others. Receiving an award that recognizes our work in Haiti, where the rights of marginalized people have been violated generation after generation, is especially gratifying. We have been making grants to support grassroots organizations in Haiti since 1999 with the aim of supporting efforts to nurture and realize human rights for all in Haitian society.

(Click on image to enlarge)

(Click on image to enlarge)

As you know, our work in Haiti is one piece of our global effort. American Jewish World Service (AJWS) is the leading Jewish organization working to promote human rights and end poverty in the developing world. We support more than 400 grassroots organizations in Africa, Asia and the Americas that promote the rights of women, girls and LGBT people; rebuild societies torn apart by war and disasters; and seek to secure access to food, land and water. In the United States, we mobilize our supporters to advocate for U.S. policies that help create a just and equitable world.

AJWS sets itself apart from many aid organizations by identifying grassroots organizations, no matter how small, that are already doing great work, and supporting them as they serve their communities in the ways that they deem appropriate. In Haiti, we work with organizations that focus on sustainable agriculture and the rights of small-scale farmers, natural resource rights, the sexual health and rights of women and LGBT people, and reducing the impact of natural disasters on communities.  

We have granted approximately $4.6 million in Haiti since the 2010 earthquake. And although we will spend down the last of our Haiti earthquake relief fund in 2014, we are committed to maintaining our core work there in 2015 and beyond. Our goal is not just to provide aid after the 2010 earthquake, but to support grassroots communities in their quest for long-lasting social change. 

Here are a few examples of the extraordinary organizations we support in Haiti:

  • Oganizasyon Peyizan 7e Seksyon Kominal Gwomon (OP7G): OP7G was created in 2001 to improve the quality of life of peasant farmers and their families in Artibonite, Haiti (a rural area 62 miles north of Port-au-Prince). The organization now has over 2,000 members and four programs working in complementary areas: agriculture, health and income-generation.
    AJWS supports OP7G’s work to strengthen the economic well being of peasant farmers through access to credit, seeds for crop diversification, and model farms demonstrating sustainable ways to increase crop yields and restore the environment.
  •  Fos Refleksyon ak Aksyon sou Koze Kay (FRAKKA): FRAKKA is a coalition of 40 grassroots organizations and internally displaced people (IDP) camp committees that were formed to advocate for the rights of IDPs who continue living in camps after being displaced by the 2010 Haiti earthquake. 
    AJWS supports FRAKKA and its members to advocate for the rights of people facing forced evictions from IDP camps through legal assistance, mobilization and awareness-raising campaigns on housing rights.
    Recently, several of AJWS’s Haitian partners, including FRAKKA, spearheaded the campaign “Under Tents,” calling for permanent housing solutions for the nearly 500,000 people still living in displacement camps. The campaign is a joint initiative of dozens of Haitian grassroots and international organizations, of which AJWS is a campaign sponsor. The demands of the Under Tents campaign are that the Haitian government: (1) designate land for housing; (2) create a centralized government housing institution to coordinate and implement a social housing plan; and (3) solicit and allocate funding to realize this plan. 
  • Oganizasyon Gwoupman Peyizan pou Devlopman Laviktwa (OPDL): OPDL is a collective of farmers in La Victoire, a small and isolated community in the north of Haiti.  La Victoire has poor infrastructure and is facing decreased agricultural production due to environmental degradation and harmful traditional farming practices. AJWS funds OPDL’s work to empower the rural community of La Victoire through training in sustainable agriculture, reducing the risk of destruction after disasters, and using microfinance loans to start small business ventures. 
  • SEROvie: SEROvie is one of the only organizations in Haiti specifically providing HIV and AIDS related support to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. In July 2012, at the International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C., SEROvie won the prestigious U.N. Red Ribbon Award in recognition of its “outstanding initiatives that show leadership in reducing the spread and impact of AIDS.” 
    AJWS first began working with SEROvie in 2010 after the earthquake. Amidst the overcrowding and general insecurity of the IDP camps, where many of Haiti’s sexual minorities now find themselves particularly vulnerable to HIV and AIDS, SEROvie’s community center and HIV and AIDS services are more vital than ever. Currently, AJWS supports a SEROvie program to document human rights abuses against LGBT people and support national advocacy for their rights in Haiti.

To learn more about AJWS and our work in Haiti, please visit www.ajws.org.

On behalf of AJWS, I wanted to give our sincere thanks for the award you gave us. In addition to hanging it proudly in our office, we sent our entire organization and several of our board members the link to the award on your site.
                                                                          – Joshua Ontell,  AJWS Communications Associate



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