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Columnist hopes for generosity

March 28, 2009

By Jennifer Browning

With the United States dealing within a recession often times we forget that our financial problems have a sort of trickle down impact to those countries who receive aid from us. New York Times columnist Nicholas D. Kristof discusses this impact in his opinion piece A Boy Living in a Car.

With the recession in the United States, many Haitian Americans who work in the States in order to send money to their families in Haiti can no longer send money due to job losses. He tells the story of a 10-year-old boy in Cap Haitian whose father was working in Florida but lost his job and can no longer send money home. Without the father’s income, the family in Cap Haitian was evicted and now are trying to survive. The mother and children went separate ways to improve their odds of finding shelter, and the boy discovered refuge in an abandoned wreck of a car. According to the World Bank he is one of 46 million in the developing world who will be driven into poverty in 2009.

But Kristoff finds hope upon meeting two women, Sasha Kramer and Sarah Brownell, working for Sustainable Organic Integrated Livelihoods (SOIL) who are focusing on agriculture and sanitation issues in Haiti. One of their projects is creating a composting toilet that turn human waste into valuable fertilizer. Kramer and Brownell say that the yearlong composting process kills the pathogens in the waste, making it safe to use the fertilizer.

SOIL is one of the many non-governmental organizations partnering with the Global Institute to help facilitate and implement the important goals of the Millennium Village Project in Marmont. To learn more about SOIL’s municipal composting plan click here.

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