Volunteer Opportunities

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How to Volunteer in Haiti


As devastating images continue to emerge from the aftermath of the earthquake in Haiti, many Americans are wondering what they can do to help. While most relief agencies say donating money is the best way to contribute to the cause, we know that many Tonic readers have their hearts set on doing something more.

The fact is, hands-on opportunities exist in Haiti right now — and the need for volunteers is expected to grow in the weeks and months to come.

At Tonic, part of our mission is to make it easier for you to get involved. That's why we've compiled this list of organizations that need volunteers in Haiti. If you have skills that you believe could be useful in rebuilding Port-au-Prince and the hopes and dreams of the Haitian people, these organizations want to hear from you.

Log on to the appropriate website. Make that phone call. Take that extra step, and get involved.


1. Medical workers are sought by The International Medical Corps, a global nonprofit dedicated to saving lives and relieving suffering through health care training and treatment. IMC is taking applications for volunteer doctors and nurses, with a particular need for nurses. Go to their website at www.imcworldwide.org and click on the "How You Can Help" tab.

2. The Washington, D.C.-based Visions in Action (www.visionsinaction.org), an international nonprofit committed to achieving social and economic justice in the developing world through grassroots programs, seeks an earthquake relief volunteer immediately for a two to four-week trip to Haiti to assess needs and determine how VIA can best respond to the crisis. Please send a cover letter, CV, and the contact information for three references to: haiti@visionsinaction.org for immediate consideration.

3. The Global Volunteer Network is now working to implement a long-term, sustainable volunteer project in Haiti. Once their team of specialists determines needs, GVN will send in volunteers over the next 12 months, with a likely start date of March onwards. Volunteers are needed from one week to six months to help with working with children; teaching; health/medical; building and construction; counseling; or business development. You can find more information at www.globalvolunteernetwork.org/haiti/

4. Massachusetts-based Ministries of Aides International, a humanitarian organization focusing on needy children worldwide, urgently needs volunteers to help distribute supplies and assist nurses and physicians in their work to help the victims of the earthquake. If you are interested in volunteering, contact Wladimir D. Lahens at 617 -250-8516, email volunteers@ministriesofaidesinternational.org or visit their website at www.ministriesofaidesinternational.org.

5. Over 7,000 registered nurses have already answered the call from their union, the National Nurses United, to volunteer in Haiti. If you are a nurse, you can call 1-800-578-8225, visit www.nationalnursesunited.org or fill out a volunteer form at www.calnurses.org/rnrn/rnrn-volunteer-form.html

6. Boston-based Partners in Health (www.pih.org) urgently needs orthopedic surgeons, trauma surgeons, anesthesiologists, nurse anesthetists, nurses, post-op nurses, and surgical technicians. They are unable to accommodate any volunteers without significant surgical or trauma training and experience. Applicants can fill out a form here.

7. While the Red Cross isn't accepting volunteers to travel to Haiti now, there will be a need down the road for more medical personnel, translators and others who need to receive appropriate disaster training now. The Red Cross (www.redcross.org) asks potential volunteers to contact their local Red Cross chapter for this training.

8. Both medical and non-medical workers can register to volunteer their services with the Center for International Disaster Information (CIDI), based in Washington, D.C. Relief agencies browse through the listings to find volunteers who match their needs. The CIDI, funded by the United States Agency for International Development's Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance, promotes activities and donations to help disaster victims around the world. You can visit the CIDI's registration page at www.cidi.org/reg_off.htm or call 703-276-1914.

9. The Anir Experience, based in Lewisburg, West Virginia, is assembling three teams of volunteers to travel to Haiti July 3-17, 2010. Teams will be 15 members each for either construction, first-aid/health care or child care. For more information go to www.anirfoundation.org/Haitipage2.html or contact them at Programs@anirexperience.org.

10. Habitat for Humanity International is currently assessing response options in Haiti. Once the organization knows the full magnitude of the disaster, Habitat will require support from volunteers. Contact www.habitat.org to register to volunteer or for updated information on its needs.

11. The American Refugee Committee International, an international humanitarian aid agency that works with 2.5 million people annually, has information for prospective volunteers in Haiti here.

12. The Christian Reformed World Relief Committee (www.CRCNA.org), which has been working with churches and community organizations in Haiti for more than 30 years, is not clear on whether or not additional volunteers will be needed for CRWRC's response. Those who are interested in volunteering should call Carol Sybenga at 1-800-730-3490 or e-mail volunteer@crcna.org.

13. World Hope International (www.worldhope.org), a faith-based relief and development organization based in Alexandria, Virginia, will mobilize volunteers to assist their Haitian staff and communities in clean-up and rebuilding once the work of its first responders ebbs. Visit their website for more information.

14. For more information on volunteer positions as they arise, regularly check Idealist.org.  Also, check out InterAction, a coalition of NGO's with a regularly updated list of its member organizations involved with Haiti at www.interaction.org/crisis-list/earthquake-haiti.


Follow this link to read Tonic's latest update on additional volunteer opportunities in Haiti.

If you know of other volunteer opportunities that you'd like to share with Tonic's readers, please give instructions in the comments section below. Or write to us at editor@tonic.com.


To read more of Tonic's continuing Haiti coverage, CLICK HERE.


Photos by AFP/Getty Images

This article talks about these people, places and more:

International Medical Corps, Habitat for Humanity International, Hope, Haiti, Red Cross, Habitat for Humanity, Third World and Developing Countries, Port-au-Prince, Partners In Health, InterAction, Humanitarian Aid, Agency for International Development, HOPE International



The USAID is looking for health care workers that speak either French or Creole. If you meet this criterion you should send an email to rebuildhaiti@usaid.gov. In the subject line reference “medical” and then in the body of the email indicate the clinical specialty area, what language is spoken and contact information. This will connect directly into the US government response efforts. This email address should NOT be used for expressing a general interest in responding to Haiti.

The Department of Health and Human Services has established an email for health care professionals interested in volunteering – Haiti.volunteer@hhs.gov. Please include your name, clinical area, specialty skills, degrees, and language capabilities. The notice also states the following: “Please keep in mind that volunteer opportunities in disaster settings are rare, and it may not be possible to accept your offer for assistance at this time.”

Information From the American Nurses Association Maine:


Joint Language University, http://jlu.wbtrain.com. This DOD-sponsored website has Haitian Creole language materials that can be downloaded from their home page. You can learn very basic introductory phrases along with targeted medical, police, and military terminology.

Health Resources for Haiti, http://disasterinfo.nlm.nih.gov/dimrc/haitiearthquake.html. A compilation of links to resources for medical teams responding to the Haiti earthquake. The page includes Creole-language materials for non-Creole speakers to use in healthcare settings, as well information on traumatic injuries, mass fatalities, mental health, and the public health consequences of the earthquake damage. This content is always no-cost.

ANA continues to recruit nurses who are interested in being considered for possible deployment to Haiti. As always, it is important to remember that patience is the watchword for this disaster. Nurses can access the online form for ANA’s database at www.nursingworld.org/haitirelief.

According to the Maine Volunteers Active in Disaster Website:


The following organizations are good resources for information on volunteer opportunities in Haiti:




The Center for International Disaster Information