Haiti: Teach Someone to Fish? What if there are NO Fish?

"The solution is a lot more complicated than teaching someone to fish," Matt Altman says in his reply to Confessions Of A Haiti NGO Worker, "It does no good teaching someone to fish if there are no fish, or the person does not have a way to get to the fish."

Of course we are NOT talking about fishing per se... We are talking about the lack of JOBS in Haiti and why skilled workers end up leaving the country.

I am sure you heard this saying "Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime" but all of a sudden this new question is raised:

What if there are no fish?

Haiti is a nation of people able and willing to work BUT... There are no jobs!!!

There are no jobs...

Matt is one those people who rushed to Haiti to help restore communications after the earthquake. "I fell in love with the people," Matt says, "and have continued to come back. We have provided technical training, but I always wonder where people will get jobs. What good does it do to train someone if there is no work, and they end up leaving the country."

"I had thought about coming to Haiti to live away from PAP," Matt says, "and working in a community developing self sustaining skills... But, maybe I do not belong there."

If you read his comment in full you will realize that Matt wanted to do a little more than just to "feel good" about assisting poor Haitians in need. I think he wanted to contribute for the long term.

But as he puts it... What good is teaching someone to fish if there are no fish?

Believe me, I am still trying to understand the full meaning of this sentence.

What do you think about it? What do you think is the solution to this puzzle?

Reply with your comments

Write a comment  (2)

You might also like

Return to Articles List

All Comments (2)

Kelin Scoon says...

Matt, don't give up. It is going to take years to build momentum.

Teaching self sustaining skills is a good idea. I take it you mean business startups.

But recipients will need seed capital.

Reply  ... More

Thomas says...

I think before anyone can help Haiti we have to identify what kind of help we need. Otherwise people with good intentions will come, they will leave, and nothing will happen.

If you don't know what you want, not even God can help

Reply  ... More

Leave a Reply

Name (required)

E-mail (required, will not be published)

Subject: Haiti: Teach Someone to Fish? What if there are NO Fish? edit

» »