Bernard Georges is the founder of the non-profit New Bridges for Haitian Success, an organization to help Haitian immigrants in Rhode Island. Georges recently returned from a trip to Haiti where he delivered aid to those affected by Hurricane Matthew. He stopped by the studio for a conversation with our morning host Chuck Hinman.
Bernard Georges started the non-profit New Bridges for Haitian Success to help Haitian immigrants integrate into the Rhode Island community. Following the devastation brought to Haiti in October of 2016 by Hurricane Matthew, he found himself organizing a relief effort here to bring the help back home. Georges said through the generosity of people in Rhode Island and Massachusetts, his group was able to distribute 417 bags of supplies to the Haitians of Belle-Anse and Aux Cayes. They brought rice, beans, clothes, shoes, soap and bottles of water. Through a free clinic they helped provide basic medical supplies, and they distributed school supplies and toys to about 80 Haitian children.
Haiti has a history of suffering. In 2010, an earthquake rocked the country. Then came a cholera epidemic. Georges said Hurricane Matthew just added to the continuing misery for the people there.
"People are still homeless, hungry, vulnerable to the elements," he said. "Children and families sleep in the waterlogged streets, and so are confronted with health risks due to illness such as cholera. It’s very, very sad."
Georges is thankful for everyone who donated to the relief effort. "I’m honored and grateful for the outpouring of support by the greater Rhode Island community," he said, adding that support from the local government was lacking. "They never received any aid from their elected officials in Haiti. Even from elected officials! So Rhode Island and Massachusetts friends did a great, great thing for the people in Belle Anse."
Now, Georges has organized an event to express his gratitude to those who donated their support.
"Saturday, March 25th, at 2pm, Roger Williams Law School downtown, 1 Empire Plaza, Providence. We invite everyone," said Georges. He wants people to see what their donations actually did. "Because a lot of folks are concerned whether or not their donations went to the right folks," he explained. "A lot of international organizations do not report how the money was spent or distributed. So I think it is important for New Bridges to show them that, listen, this is how your stuff, it goes exactly as we said, we distributed to the folks who need it most, here’s the pictures, here’s the video, here’s the interview, so they will be able to see that."
Bernard Georges has plans to go back to Haiti to do more. "I would like to generate more donations, for school-related items and I would like to open a professional school in Belle-Anse," he said. He said they're looking for printers, copiers and desktop computers, and that some schools here change these items regularly. He'd like the old ones donated to New Bridges for Haitian Success, "so we can donate them to Belle-Anse, just to help these kids. That’s my objective now."