The Struggle to Help Without Hurting in Haiti
Join Dr. Lisa Denny in this short documentary as she volunteers in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake. There she faces a difficult truth — that volunteering itself can often times undermine the local economy and paradoxically cause another layer of need to be added to a humanitarian crisis.
We started this project in late 2010, shortly after the earthquake devastated the island. The official narrative of the international response was attractive and simple: The world shows its compassion to save a nation. Volunteers were heros and the Haitians were victims – it was a black & white, digestible version of events.
As we made the film, we started to realize that the situation was far more complicated. As Dr. Denny in the film points out, "The quake isn't the story of a natural disaster, it's the story of a natural disaster that hit on top of political and economic mess." How Haiti became the way it is is a story that's largely about its neighbors – and while that's an entire narrative we don't touch on in the film, we hope that this story will open up the investigative impulse in all of us to learn a bit more.
Haiti and the United States share a long, complex history. Today that relationship is causing a crisis. To learn more about responsible charitable action see the links below: