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Europe and Central Asia pledges support to Haiti

“Today, we are all Haitians,” is a common sentiment felt throughout Europe and Central Asia following the news about the devastating earthquake in Haiti. People were shocked to hear about the scale of the disaster, and felt the need to do all within their powers to bring back hope to their fellow citizens.

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Almost 75 percent of the Haiti’s capital lies in ruins and requires rebuilding.

The disastrous 7.0-magnitude quake struck the Caribbean island in January, 2010. As many as 200,000 were reported dead and more than 1.5 million lost homes. Almost 75 percent of the capital, Port-au-Prince, lies in ruins and requires rebuilding.

Many national organizations in Europe and Central Asia felt an urgent need to call on joint international efforts to help the people of the poorest country in the Western hemisphere rebuild homes and lives. This is the only way to help the Haitians who have been suffering from political instability, food shortages, and natural disasters.

Sending tithes
Habitat affiliates are expected to give up to 10 percent of their resources–a tithe–to support work in other parts of the country or globally. This is one of the cornerstone principles of Habitat which comes from the tradition in which people of certain faiths donate 10 percent of their income to their religious institutions.

In Habitat, affiliates are encouraged to donate a tenth of what they raise at home in support of housing programs in other countries to eliminate global poverty. In some recipient countries, that 10 percent can build an entire house or two. In other places, it is enough to add just a room or a roof. Nevertheless, there is never a gift too small.

This year, programs in Europe and Central Asia pledged to send tithes, no matter how big or small, to Haiti.

“Due to a very limited fund of local donations that we receive annually, the tithe we are sending will be a lot less than what we would like it to be”, wrote Tanja Maleska from Habitat Macedonia. Within a week of the disaster, the board of directors of Habitat Macedonia took a decision to send money to Haiti. A special hotline for donations was set up to try and increase the amount.

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A banner used for fundraising campaign in Romanian media.

Many programs in Eastern Europe and Central Asia depend themselves on tithes from US or Canadian partners to fund operations and know too well how important such support is. However, they were the first ones to offer help.

“The tithe is a major part of the support we receive and we believe that now is the time to give back and support the people who have lost their families, friends and homes in Haiti”, wrote Nargiza Kadykova from Habitat Kyrgyzstan.

Mobilized and united in the time of great need, programs in Europe and Central Asia are running active campaigns to raise much needed funds for Haiti’s recovery, both short- and long-term. In Romania, Habitat for Humanity held a fundraiser for Haiti victims with a French high school, and placed appeal banners on 10 media sites.

National organizations speak to their local and international partners to send tithes, while donor programs in the Netherlands and Germany send emergency appeals and talk to corporate partners about donations.

What is next?
Habitat wants people not only to read about poverty housing but do something to fight it. You can support Habitat’s work in Europe and Central Asia in a number of ways. Here are some examples:

• Visit our donations page to support projects in Europe and Central Asia.
• Go to country profile pages to learn about other programs in Europe and Central Asia.

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