We first traveled to Haiti as volunteers in early 2010, in the aftermath of the January 12 earthquake. In the midst of terrible loss and human suffering, we were overwhelmed by the courage and kindness of the people we met, and captivated by the richness of the country’s history and culture. After returning to the United States, our experiences in Haiti remained with us. We read voraciously about the country’s revolutionary origins, and the long history of international intervention in Haiti’s internal affairs—often with disastrous consequences. We studied the gross inequalities in income, education and healthcare that cause needless suffering and prevent many Haitians from reaching their full potential. And we started to ask some uncomfortable questions: How are the privileged lives we enjoy as middle-class Americans linked to the problems of poverty and inequality we witnessed in Haiti? What responsibility do we have to take action as witnesses of injustice? Were we, and the thousands of well-intentioned foreigners who rushed to Haiti after the earthquake, really even helping?
These questions changed the trajectory of our lives. We began reorienting our professional activities and aspirations to allow us to engage with issues of poverty, inequality and social justice in our daily lives. And we returned to Haiti often, forging relationships with some remarkable individuals and organizations doing thoughtful, live-giving work. Resources to Resources is the result of a partnership with one of these organizations—a group of civic minded Haitians dedicated to improving their lives and their community in the face of great challenges.
As professionals in the education and healthcare industries, we believe in the value of research and evidence-based practice. We work hard to make smart, well-informed decisions about the projects we engage in. We also know the importance of compassion and human connection. We strive to act as equal partners with our collaborators in Haiti, approaching our work with a deep sense of humility and respect. Together, we are working to create new opportunities for our brothers and sisters in Haiti who have been pushed to the margins of the global economy—by recognizing their potential, valuing their input, and investing in their futures.
Daniel & Kymber Beers, R2R co-founders
In the Spring of 2015, we assembled a team of academics, college students, and professionals in central Illinois to build and manage an organization dedicated to supporting our work in Haiti. Resources to Resources (R2R) is a legally recognized 501(c)(3) not-for-profit, registered in the state of Illinois. Our all-volunteer staff come from a wide variety of personal and geographic backgrounds, with one thing in common: We believe in the potential of our partners in Haiti and the inherent value of all people, regardless of their financial assets or social status.
In Haiti, Stephana Lorwinsky, a student of social work at the Institute for Social Work and Social Science (ETS) in Port-au-Prince, serves as our onsite program manager.
Stephana grew up in Camp-Perrin in the south of Haiti. She moved to Port au Prince in 2013 to study Psychology and Social Work at ETS, and will graduate in 2017. It was at ETS that she took a class with Daniel and got involved with Resources to Resources.
Stephana is a member and volunteer at the YMCA in Haiti, and served as the youth ambassador at the US embassy in Haiti in 2012. She worked with the YMCA of Greater New York as a camp counselor during the summer of 2014, and has continued to find ways to engage in her community ever since.
“From now on I try to serve my country more and have decided to go and help. This is why I am so honored today to serve this community, Canaan. I believe that one small action can make big impact. Keep engaging!”
Her responsibilities include overseeing program registration and logistics, verifying and coordinating savings deposits and matching funds transfers, and serving as a trusted liaison with our partners in Haiti. Stephana is an invaluable member of the R2R team.