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BYU professor, students helping to ‘Sustain Haiti'

By Carole Mikita  |  Posted May 25th, 2010 @ 5:21pm


PROVO -- A BYU professor and some of his students hope to plant both ideas and seeds in the still earthquake-ravaged country of Haiti.

Deseret News:

The "Sustain Haiti" program is just beginning, but these team members believe with a knowledge of how to help and a lot of creativity, they can start something that will take root.

The epicenter of Haiti's earthquake struck in the city of Leogane, 18 miles outside the capitol Port-Au-Prince. Of the 150,000 residents, 20,000 to 30,000 were killed and 80 percent of the buildings were destroyed.

More than four months later, the Haitians still need help with the basics of life.

BYU students are working on a project called square-foot gardening. They fill the areas with soil and leaves, then collect rotten vegetables from vendors and use it as compost.

What is ... Sustain Haiti?
Sustain Haiti is a non-profit humanitarian effort to help build sustainable strategies for Haitian families for the long term.

James Barker, a Sustain Haiti volunteer, explains the process. "Eventually what we'll do is, we'll partition the garden and separate it in square-foot blocks. And then in each square foot, we'll put a different seed and a different vegetable, like onions or cabbage or tomatoes, for instance."

The group calls its efforts small, but hopes before the end of the year that Haitians will plant their own gardens.

"Sustain Haiti is basically a group of volunteers, students, people experienced in developmental issues, that came to Haiti in the post-relief effort," said Ammon Franklin, Sustain Haiti Country Director. "I've really enjoyed being with the Haitian people. They're very generous people, they're very giving people. They have a lot of hope."

The students and their professor have other projects as part of Sustain Haiti: clean water, sanitation/hygiene education and micro-financing.


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