The tiny landlocked country of Lesotho in southern Africa is literally on the other side of the world from Haiti. However, PIH’s sister organizations in both countries share a strong bond of solidarity.
“We are a big family!” wrote Dr. Hind Satti, country director for PIH’s project in Lesotho. “The suffering and tragedy that happened in Haiti moved all of us... We are ready to help if you need us.”
In an act of solidarity, the Partners In Health staff in Lesotho have been working to help raise money for earthquake relief and rebuilding projects in Haiti—collecting about $20,000 USD—a major contribution by any standard, but particularly considering that Lesotho has a lower per capita GDP than the poorest country in the western hemisphere—Haiti.
One of the staff, a woman who cleans office, put her contribution into perspective. “Is it not too much for you?” Dr. Satti had asked the cleaner, concerned that donating would be financially difficult for her family. “I know at the end of the day, I will go home,” the cleaner assured her, “I will find papa [corn meal porridge] to eat, but those people, they have lost everything.”
Cross-site collaboration makes the expansion and dissemination of our work possible. In particular, our almost 25 years of experience in Haiti has helped our projects in Africa to flourish. Such an exchange of resources, technology, and knowledge between developing countries is often referred to as a south-south collaboration. Since the Lesotho project began in 2006, staff from Zanmi Lasante in Haiti, including Dr. Jonas Rigodon, have traveled to Lesotho to help the new project get off the ground.