Letters from Sasha


January 2015 Newsletter: A Day of Reflection

Dear friends, Today is a day of reflection in Haiti. It is a day to remember Haiti as it was before the earthquake, a day to examine the changes over the last five years, and a day to dream of a future beyond the shadow of tragedy. There are those of you who have been with SOIL since our humble beginnings in 2006 and those of you who learned of our work after the earthquake. All of you are connected to SOIL because you believe in our mission to move beyond disasters, to a Haiti where everyone’s basic human rights are respected and supported by vibrant local ...

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Huffington Post: Shining the Spotlight on Sanitation

By Sasha Kramer, SOIL in the Huffington Post, April 22, 2014 Gone are the days of sanitation languishing in the shadows while other basic human needs take the spotlight. In the past decade, the topic of sanitation has emerged from back-room discussions among engineers at water conferences to a high-level, global dialogue among activists, celebrities and philanthropists. One of the drivers for this increased interest in sanitation is the celebrity draw, but what is it that drew the celebrities, and what keeps them interested? Many have come to the table through the ...

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World Economic Forum Blog: Why Social Entrepreneurs See the Opportunity in Waste

By Sasha Kramer, SOIL for the World Economic Forum Blog. Gone are the days of sanitation languishing in the shadows while other basic human needs take the spotlight. In the past decade, the topic of sanitation has emerged from backroom discussions among engineers at water conferences to a high-level, global dialogue among activists, celebrities and philanthropists. Many have come to the table through the obvious connection between sanitation and public health. According to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, over 1.5 million children die from diarrheal diseases ...

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January 2014 Newsletter: Resilient as the Soil

This is a land so vibrant and alive that laugher will come bursting through as imperious as the sun and the spirit will survive resilient as the soil. - Dennis Brutus 1978 ”Love; the Struggle”   Dennis Brutus, a visionary poet and courageous activist, was also a founding member of the SOIL advisory board. Dennis’ lifetime struggle for justice inspired SOIL’s philosophy of liberation ecology and I often look to his writings for guidance.  While reflecting on the 4th anniversary of Haiti’s earthquake, I remembered Dennis’ poem, Love; the Struggle. ...

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The Philosophical Roots of SOIL’s Waste Transformation Work in Haiti — Nutrient Access and Human Rights

**  This post is a modified essay that was originally published in the online literary magazine Drunken Boat.  We hope this will give our supporters insight into SOIL’s guiding principles and we thank Drunken Boat and Ashoka Changemakers for encouraging us to philosophically reflect on why we do the work we do.** Sustainable Organic Integrated Livelihoods  (SOIL) is an organization based in Haiti that was founded in 2006 with a mission of ensuring nutrients for all through the transformation of wastes into resources, or more precisely by turning poop into soil.  We ...

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Let Sleeping Cows Lie: SOIL Executive Director Mauled by Cow

As many of you know SOIL's dear Executive Director Sasha Kramer loves animals. Unfortunately, while attempting to wake up Uit the cow for a late night snack of a hot, salty potato, Sasha became tangled in Uit's lead rope and was dragged across the field at the SOIL farm in Limonade. Sasha has thankfully since recovered, but she may reconsider the timing for giving hot, salty potato snacks to cows. We hope that you enjoy the reenactment photos below and remember to let sleeping cows lie.

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April 2013 Newsletter: Shada Flood

Dear friends, All of our long time supporters are by now familiar with the community of Shada in Cap-Haitien, where SOIL has been working since 2006.  This is the home of the magnificent and charismatic Madame Bwa and the thousands of residents that inspire us with their courage and resilience.  That courage was once again put to the test when spring rains brought massive flooding to the community of Shada earlier this week. Flooding is not new in Shada, as the low-lying neighborhood has always been hit hard during heavy rains, but this year there is something new ...

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January 2013 Newsletter: Hope and Remembrance 3 Years Later

Dear Friends, I am writing this letter at 3:53 pm January 12, 2013.  Three years ago today Port au Prince was bustling with activity as people spilled into the streets from work and school.  Mothers returned home after a long day of working under the hot sun, fathers greeted their children with tired eyes, neighbors shared warm handshakes and laughed away the day’s challenges.  One hour later the city collapsed and over 300,000 of these mothers, fathers, children and neighbors were lost in an instant. Last night at the stroke of midnight the hills around our house in ...

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October 2012 Newsletter: With Love from Port-au-Prince

Dear Friends, Another month has passed and thanks to your ongoing support SOIL has remained as active and dedicated as ever. We are most grateful to our friends and supporters for helping us to ensure that our emergency toilets in Port-au-Prince stay open. As the rainy season begins the threat of cholera is ever greater for the hundreds of thousands people still living under tarps in the capital Port-au-Prince. Your donations over the past month have made a real difference for the thousands of earthquake victims that SOIL continues to serve. I recently got back from a ...

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SOIL’s Regional Director Moves Into a Compost Bin!

That’s right, our beloved Regional Director, Theo Huitema, has now officially become a shining example of our organizational mission to transform wastes into resources by building his home inside our old compost bins in Limonade, northern Haiti. In January 2012, the mayor of Limonade asked SOIL to relocate our northern Haiti compost site in accordance with a new plan for the development of the region.  Although it was sad to leave behind our beautiful new compost bins, which had only been used for 4 months, we gladly obliged and have since established a new compost ...

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