Be helpful, ‘Be Haiti’

Fueled by dreams of empowerment, Butler students are leading a campaign called “Be Haiti” to raise $100,000 to bring health services to the people of Les Cayes, Haiti, through the development of a clinic for women and children.

Les Cayes is a city located in southwestern Haiti that was damaged by the January 2010 earthquake. It is also the hometown of physician assistant student Ketura Isidor.

Isidor and 2008 Butler graduate Michael Hole formulated the “Be Haiti” campaign, which has the immediate goal of expanding a current clinic into a health center for woman and children.

Isidor’s family is very involved in the community of Les Cayes. They own the Children of Israel Orphanage, which houses 30 children.

Her father was the president of a Lutheran church in the city, and she said his “dynamic personality” has inspired her to want to want to help others.

To raise awareness for the campaign, Isidor and Hole, along with Butler students senior political science and international science major Marcus Hagberg and senior biology and Spanish major Tori Morken, have developed a plan which includes a ‘Be Haiti’ week, set to begin  March 5.

“Be Haiti” week will include a kickoff event, a cultural evening and a panel discussion.  The goal is to raise awareness in the Butler and Indianapolis community so that funding can be raised for the health center. Once that goal is reached, students can continue to set new goals.

“Overall, we need $100,000 and we have a goal of raising $25,000 at Butler,” Hagberg said. “I know it’s ambitious, but I think that the students are up to it.”

Morken agrees.

“I’ve seen the amazing things that our student organizations can do in their individual efforts. I can’t even imagine what would be possible if they all joined forces,” Morken said.

The students are also working to get grants from companies in Indianapolis to contribute to the funds.

“The project itself is a humanitarian’s dream,” Morken said. “With such a strong international partner, the vast potential for community empowerment and the possibility for continued collaboration, the efforts of ‘Be Haiti’ meet every standard necessary for success.”

The students are also planning to send out a letter to all Butler students.  The purpose is to inform the Butler community about the “Be Haiti” campaign, and in turn, hopefully each Butler student will then pass along what they have learned to two more people.

Last week, the students also launched a website for the campaign.

“Our current goal is the clinic, but that’s not the whole point of the campaign,” Isidor said. “This campaign is about empowerment and showing other people that they have the ability to help others.”

Isidor, Morken, Hagberg and Hole all said they hope to unite the Butler community to reach the goals said they have set for the campaign.

“It is our vision to unite the influential student leaders we have here at Butler, to work together toward a common goal, one that might hit closer to home than you think,” Morken said.