Delivering on His Promise, Alumnus Brings Disaster Supplies Directly to Haiti
BELLE ANSE, HAITI — Bernard Georges, a Roger Williams University graduate who founded New Bridges for Haitian Success, succeeded this month in delivering a large shipment of food, clothing and bottled water to people devastated by the Category 4 hurricane that slammed Haiti in October.
Georges, who immigrated to Rhode Island from Haiti and received a master’s degree in public administration from RWU in 2014, collected a full shipping container of supplies in Rhode Island and returned to Haiti to ensure that the aid was delivered to those who need it most.
He said he oversaw the distribution of 417 bags of supplies — each containing rice, beans, clothes, shoes, soap, hand sanitizer and bottles of water. He took part in a free clinic that provided basic medical supplies. And he distributed school supplies and toys to about 80 Haitian children as schools prepare to reopen in the wake of Hurricane Matthew.
Georges, executive director of New Bridges for Haitian Success, said the hurricane destroyed more than 100 homes in the Belle-Anse area of Haiti. “With no homes, children and families sleep in the waterlogged streets and thus are confronted with health risks due to illnesses such as cholera,” he said. “People are still homeless, hungry, vulnerable to the elements and highly traumatized.”
Georges had joined in gathering supplies from Rhode Islanders along with Omar Bah, an RWU graduate and board chairman at New Bridges for Haitian Success; RWU Professor of History Autumn Quezada de Tavarez, vice chairwoman of New Bridges for Haitian Success; and Carline Boice, coordinator for New Bridges for Haitian Success. The effort was organized amid concerns that aid would not reach who needed it, and members of the nonprofit organization used their expertise and local connections to ensure it would.
“This was a great relief,” he said of the supplies. “They never received any aid, even from the elected officials. They were so grateful to Rhode Island.”
Georges said he plans to return to Rhode Island soon and organize a community dinner to give thanks for those who donated and to show a documentary of the relief effort.
“I would love to continue to generate more donations for the school and medical supplies,” he said. “Together we are stronger, and I am humbled in the knowledge that we can make a difference around the world.”