.

I'm Nittai Malchin, a senior at Palo Alto High School in CA and the founder of One Love Advocates. Our mission is to do whatever possible to improve access to education in communities that are struggling with destructive or endemic problems. My immediate focus is helping kids in Haiti gain access to educational opportunities. I recently traveled to Haiti, and I will be documenting my trip on this site. There are 4 sections (see navigation above) to my mini site: (1) my blog where i document my activities, impressions and thoughts from Haiti (2) About One Love where you can read more about the initiative (3) Support One Love where you can learn how to get involved, donate or help (4) contact info. And on the right sidebar you will find more info such as links to other sites, feeds, photos, videos, and ways to contact me or share One Love with others. Also, check out the cool toolbar on the bottom of your screen to see our videos, photos, and Facebook page, for translations, and more. Thank you for visiting and feel free to share your thoughts.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Tragedy in Japan

As Japan continues to suffer through the aftermath of the earthquake almost one week ago, we continue to search for ways to help the ravaged areas that were hurt most. Omri Maor, a member of the OneLove team from our second trip to Haiti, hoped to reach some more people and ask for help for the Japanese. Here is what he had to say:

Just a few days ago, Japan experienced a 9.0-magnitude earthquake—the most powerful in its known history, and the fifth most powerful globally. The offshore earthquake’s epicenter was closest to the Japanese city of Sendai, about 200 miles north of Tokyo. The earthquake caused a devastating tsunami that has claimed more than 4,300 lives, while at least 8,600 people are still missing.

Although it at first seemed that Japan, possibly the most earthquake-ready country in the world, and one of the most advanced and well-organized, would not need much help with the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami, it quickly became apparent that it is not so. 4.4 million houses have no electricity, and 1.5 million do not have water. Three nuclear reactors suffered explosions, flames consumed oil refineries and factories, hundreds of thousands are living in temporary shelters, and Japan faces a nuclear crisis worse than Three Mile Island due to the earthquake, which was more powerful than scientists predicted even in a worst-case scenario for the Japanese.

While Tokyo emerged relatively scratch-free (“only” facing food and energy shortages and a nuclear radiation scare), some cities are absolutely devastated. Minamisanriku reported over half of its population missing. In Sendai, an Australian professor said that all of his friends have no water, no electricity, or both. Entire cities have been washed away, and the rebuilding process will be costly and difficult.

How to help?

Although Japan is clearly better equipped to deal with a tsunami than Indonesia and other southeast Asian countries were in 2004, if not by virtue of economic power alone, it is still facing a tragedy that is beyond its power to deal with. Many aid organizations need financial help first and foremost in their urgent missions to help, as it allows them the flexibility needed to most efficiently help.

There are some high-tech ways to donate. To name a couple, Apple’s iTunes music store is allowing customers to donate to the American Red Cross with a simple click, and Zynga, creator of Farmville and other social networking games, is doing the same for Save the Children’s Japan’s Earthquake and Tsunami Children Emergency Fund.

There are many opportunities for mobile giving. Two major organizations, the Salvation Army and the American Red Cross, are taking donations by text message: to donate to the Salvation Army, text 'Japan' or 'Quake' to 80888, and to donate to the Red Cross, text 'RedCross' to 90999.

For bloggers, a simple line of code can add a floating bar to the top of your blog, prompting readers to help. Check out hellobar.com for how to copy the code text to your blog.

For more information on how to help, check out the many news sites such as the Christian Science Monitor (http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Asia-Pacific/2011/0315/Japan-earthquake-and-tsunami-How-to-help) and The Boston Globe (http://www.boston.com/business/personalfinance/articles/2011/03/15/us_officials_counsel_caution_when_donating_money_to_japan_relief_efforts/) for consolidated lists of ways to help Japan.

The horrors of the recent earthquake in Haiti is still fresh in our minds, and now our ability to provide help has improved. Hopefully we can each find our own way to help Japan. And whether you are religious or not, do not forget to pray for the Japanese.

One Love.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Call to Action

As I'm sure you already know, Japan was hit by a massive earthquake followed by an enormous tsunami on March 10th. These natural disasters shook the the nation, which is now in desperate need of help. The death toll is currently at 1,700 but it is rising rapidly, and there are tens of thousands of others who are missing, which does not bode well for the death toll. People have lost everything - their cars, belongings, homes, and even family members - in the sweeping floods from the tsunami.

While this Japanese situation is obviously very different from the Haitian one following the January earthquake, there are also many similarities. First, it's important to remember that real people, just like you and me, are being hurt - the death and missing tolls are not just numbers. Next, Japan is currently in a vital stage of the recovery process. Now that it is fresh in people's minds, it is far more likely to receive support and donations in hopes of restoring Japan back to the way it was. Unfortunately, Haiti is now out of people's minds, and is thus receiving less support than before despite the great needs that are ever-present - "out of sight, out of mind" some would say.

Remember, One Love's mission does not strictly pertain to Haiti, but rather to any and all struggling communities. Obviously there are far more places with problems than there are resources for us to help out, but we've decided that Japan is now in great need and that it is our duty to help. This is a call to action - please try to find a way to help, whether it be through donations or raising awareness. You can donate through PayPal (on the right of the blog), or simply send us a message asking for details and we will happily find a way to make things easy on you. The response that One Love received following the earthquake in Haiti was incredible, and it made me tremendously proud, and more importantly, helped improve the lives of many Haitians plagued by the earthquake. It is my hope that One Love will be able to help the struggling people of Japan much like it helped those of Haiti, and that won't be possible without the support of our friends, family, and community.

Be sure to stay tuned for more news regarding the situation in Japan and One Love's efforts to help.

One Love.

Friday, February 18, 2011

A Changing World

Change is always upon us in the modern world - change in technology, change in climate, change in politics, and more. Several nations around the world have recently experienced political upheaval of their leaders (Egypt, Tunisia, and more seemingly on the way) and the results of these revolutions are yet to be seen. Haiti, not too long ago, also experienced a change in power with few positive outcomes.

Haiti has been plagued by political turmoil for centuries, as elections have been marked by voter intimidation, disorganization, and fraud - and the recent political election was no exception. Before voting ended, the majority of the presidential candidates requested that the election be cancelled, as they believed the election was corrupt. Some candidates were deemed ineligible to run by the current government powers, which only further angered the voting public, as they felt that they were not given the opportunity to be well-represented. Suspicion and bitterness linger in the streets of Port-au-Prince as the March 20th runoff between Michel Martelly and Mirlande H. Manigat (Martelly, a popular Haitian singer, is very popular among the people, while Manigat is Préval's hand-picked successor) comes up.

Now, as Egypt and Tunisia have overthrown their respective regimes (and several other countries are engaging in protests and riots), they enter a very important time - one that will change the course of each nation's history. With the possibilites of violence and corruption looming large, it is our hope that the people of these nations will successfully (and peacefully) come together to create fair, just governments for all of their deserving people. And hopefully, Haiti will learn from its own mistakes and move forward towards a brighter future too.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Crocs - Sandals for Survival

Comfortable, cheap, reliable, convenient, yet incredibly ugly. These are some of the ways in which people characterize Crocs, the foam shoe that took over the shoe market for quite some time a few years ago. To most, these $15 foam sandals are nice to wear here and there, but not much more than that. To the Haitians (especially on Mon Bouton), however, they mean much, much more.

For the residents of Mon Bouton, who take the treacherous hike up and down the mountain on a daily basis, sometimes more than once, shoes are a vital part of their "outfit." Real hiking boots seem ideal for this situation, but they actually pose several problems. First and foremost, they are too rare and expensive for the Haitians to come by easily. Next, in a place as hot and humid as Haiti, hiking boots would likely prove to be too warm and cumbersome. As I learned during my trip, mobility and convenience is key for the Haitians, as they are constantly on the move - in and out of dirt, mud, and water throughout the day. For these reasons exactly, Crocs are the ideal, multi-purpose shoes for many Haitians.

During my second trip to Haiti, as we made our way up the mountain to Mon Bouton, I traveled the same way the Haitians who were lucky enough did: in Crocs (others walked in sandals or with no sandals at all.) Now, the reason I chose to do so was that my other shoes were soaked from our earlier crossing of a river, so I was left with no other options. The seven hour hike up the mountain is hard enough as it is, but being forced to hike it with the traction-less Crocs was a tremendously difficult task. I was constantly slipping and falling over the dirt and rocks. For the Haitians (who also carried some of our bags full of soccer equipment), however, what seemed to me like an impossible task, was second nature. Like many other aspects of survival, their ability to not only stay on pace with us, with the extra baggage they had to carry, but to go almost twice as fast as us has not ceased to amaze me. Even when Toma's heels were basically touching the ground with each step he took, due to a huge hole in the bottom of his Crocs, he was able to keep up his pace.

At the end of our journey on Mon Bouton, we all left our Crocs for Toma and the rest of the Mon Bouton residents. It was the very least that we could do after they hosted us in their "houses", and more importantly, created an experience for us that we will never forget. Toma took them reluctantly, thanking us endlessly, as if we had just given him the world's greatest gift. To see how grateful he was for what seemed to be a simple, somewhat useless thing truly put things into perspective for me. Omri, Drew, my Dad, and I gave our Crocs away without a second thought, and in the process, changed the way Toma and the others would live - at least until they got holes in their new Crocs. While I thought about the way the Crocs looked, Toma only thought of them as a tool for survival. As usual, he (representing the larger Haitian population) was able to make the most out of the least. My struggles climbing up the mountain with Crocs, not to mention the others' struggles with normal shoes, magnify the Haitians' ability to work through their troubles with persistence and resourcefulness.

While this may seem like a trivial issue to most people, it is in fact a matter of survival for Toma, Jacob, Destine, and countless others who live in similar situations in Haiti. Next time I see a pair of Crocs I'll think of them differently: not as unnecessary, ugly sandals, but rather as a basic necessity.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

One Year Later

Over the past year, quite a lot of stuff has happened in my life. I finished Junior year and all of the tests and schoolwork that come with it. I played some soccer. I started One Love Advocates and travelled to Haiti. I met new people and made new friends. I applied to college. I started making a basketball polling website (fansfive.com). I turned eighteen. As you can see, this year has been an exciting, happy, and rather monumental year for me, and many other teenagers around the world as well.

On the other hand, however, Haiti and its people have experienced, arguably, the worst year in their history. The devastating earthquake that shook the nation on January 12th, 2010 (exactly one year ago) has left the already-struggling country a mess. Over 230,000 people have died. Hundreds of thousands of people have been injured. Almost 2 million people are homeless. Thirty percent of civil service jobs have been lost. All but one of the Haitian Government's buildings have been destroyed. Thousands of children have been orphaned. A very large percentage of the money that was pledged to Haiti is yet to reach the Haitian people. A recent Cholera outbreak has already killed thousands of people. Unfortunately, the list of problems seems to be never-ending. Haiti, which was already plagued by great poverty and a virtually non-existent infrastructure, was the perfect "target" for the disaster. The government, the buildings, and the people were all unprepared for the earthquake, leading to the awful situation that the ravaged nation is in today.

While these problems may seem insurmountable, it is our duty to continue to work for the struggling people of Haiti. Despite the challenges, hope persists - aid agencies and individual donors continue to open their hearts and their wallets to help Haiti. Progress is incremental, but improvements are being made every single day. Many organizations are still raising money for Haiti and plan to implement special projects to help people get jobs and education, which will help in both the short-term and the long-term.

One Love Advocates has come a far way as well as it has grown in many ways. Starting as a simple blog with news updates about the situation in Haiti, One Love has grown into a full-on non-profit initiative. Donations have exceeded $15,000 and continue to come in. Thousands of soccer shirts, shorts, and balls have been donated to schools and communities in Haiti. Other high school students have been able to join the One Love cause and help with anything ranging from online solicitation to actually traveling to Haiti. The One Love Advocates Computer Program has expanded and now contains three teachers and more than fifty OLPC (One Laptop Per Child) computers.

These exciting advancements help us see some light at the end of the tunnel that is the disastrous situation in Haiti. Now, more than ever, it is vital that we do not forget about Haiti and its people as there is still a great need for help. While it may seem impossible, Haiti can be fixed step by step, little by little, and it is our job to help fix it.

One Love.