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Batey Relief AllianceThe Batey Relief Alliance (BRA) is a non-profit, humanitarian organization created to meet the health and development needs of sugar cane workers, most of them Haitian, in the Dominican Republic. BRA recently announced that they will expand operations into Haiti itself. Given the interest of the Haitian and Dominican governments in cross-border collaboration, this is a timely expansion and we hope that it willl be a success. The press release is below. ANSE-A-PITRES, Haiti, March 7, 2009. – Eleven years after its successful humanitarian intervention in sugarcane plantations bateyes of the Dominican Republic, the Batey Relief Alliance (BRA) is now expanding its work into border regions of Haiti where socio-economic isolation has forced thousands to live under harsh conditions and in extreme poverty. On April 11th, BRA will dispatch a 10-member team of foreign dentists, faculty and assistants to deliver free dental care and medicines to the population of Anse-a-Pitres, a small fishing commune located on the Southeast border with the Dominican Republic. 500 children between the ages of 2 and 12 will also receive multivitamins along with antiparasitic medicines to treat intestinal ailments. “Last year, the organization held high level meetings with Haiti’s Ministry of Health and former Prime Minister, Jacques Edouard Alexis to present its plans and seek the government’s collaboration,” said Ulrick Gaillard, BRA’s CEO. Currently, BRA is conducting a health-based assessment of the communities to obtain key data to design a comprehensive healthcare intervention. “The border regions of Haiti are as vulnerable as the bateyes of the Dominican Republic, and assistance in nutrition, healthcare, education and economic development is vital for the survival of the populations,” added Gaillard.

Bryan Schaaf

Former BRA board member named DR Ambassador to Haiti

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti. – Dr. Ruben Silie Valdez, the new Ambassador of the Dominican Republic to Haiti, presented on March 4th, 2009 his diplomatic credentials to Haitian President Rene Preval who manifested “happiness” on Silie’s appointment. Ulrick Gaillard, BRA’s CEO added, “Ruben is a dear friend and a man of great character who has devoted years of his life to help the two countries address bilateral issues through mutual respect and understanding and confraternity.” Silie joined the Batey Relief Alliance’s board of directors in 2001 where he played an important role engaging various sectors of the Dominican mainstream society in the work of the organization inside impoverished and vulnerable communities, including the bateyes. BRA is now expanding its humanitarian effort into border regions of Haiti where, as in the bateyes, socio-economic isolation has forced the populations to live in extreme poverty and under harsh conditions.BRA honored Silie last year with a lifetime achievement award—“Assessor Ad Vitam” for his work in the fields of education, migration and diplomacy.