CNN: A chance for a prosperous, stable Haiti
, Special to CNNDecember 27, 2010 9:39 a.m. EST
Charles MacCormack is the president and CEO of Save the Children, the leading independent organization that creates lasting change for children in need in the United States and around the world.
-- The images coming out of Haiti since a devastating earthquake rocked the country almost a yearago show death, disease and political uncertainty. Yet these images don't portray the whole story.Ten-year-old Andrise, who lost her relatives and home in the quake, recently returned to school, proudlywearing her new pink uniform. She boasts to Save the Children staff that she is one of the best studentsin class. She dreams of becoming a doctor.Andrise is one example of what is possible for children who live in a country that for decades has beenmired in poverty and corruption. Today, Haiti is at a crossroads and the future of these children will bedetermined by their families, countrymen, newly elected government, and, the international community.Will we limit relief efforts to achieve no more than a return to the status quo, or will we make children likeAndrise the priority -- and transform tragedy into sustainable progress led by Haitians? Clearly, the latteris the only way to realize the promise of Haiti's next generation.I urge Haiti -- with support of the international community -- to achieve a prompt, fair and credibleresolution of the election. This would guarantee that lifesaving cholera work can continue uninterrupted sothe newly elected government will provide the leadership so Haiti can take advantage of a constellation offactors that hold potential for success. These include:-- the opportunities presented by unprecedented attention, resources and international partnershipsfocused on Haiti,-- the incredible resiliency of the Haitian people who prefer a hand up to a handout,-- the resourcefulness of Haitians living abroad who are committed to Haiti's future,-- Haiti's proximity to the United States, which has a strong national interest in seeing the countryprogress.As its next-door neighbor, the United States must assist the Haitian people in their quest to build back.Congress and the Obama administration need to make a 15-year commitment to Haiti that will help createsustainable development to improve the health, education and economic opportunities of children andfamilies. The United States must also work with other donors to treat those who are suffering from choleraand invest in water and sanitation programs that will eliminate the conditions in which cholera thrives.A long-term investment is not only the right thing to do, but the smart thing to do. A Haiti that is notdeveloped is far more costly to the U.S. than one that is economically and politically secure. Investing in amore resilient Haiti now will yield significant return. It will cost far less than a continuing cycle of poverty,