Sherburne woman’s sanitation project making a difference in Haiti

NORWICH – It’s a world away, but the tiny nation of Haiti has, sadly, been in the news nearly every day this year.

From the Jan. 12th hurricane that killed more lives than the population of four Chenango Counties, the ensuing cholera epidemic that took 2,323 more and left nearly 104,000 people sick, to the recent violence spurred by controversial political elections, the world has wept for this devastated country in the Caribbean.

The picture painted in the news and on TV often highlights the hundreds of volunteer aids and relief organizations that rushed to Port-au-Prince to erect emergency shelter, provide food, drinking water and medical care, and to clear transportation routes. Their work continues today, even amidst the opposing political parties’ raging fires, tear gas explosions and gun shots.

Amazingly, the story is brought closer to home when learning that one of the organizations making an important contribution to the cause was co-founded by a woman who grew up in Sherburne.

In the heart of the year’s most tragic story is Sasha Kramer, Ph.D., 34 and daughter of Jeffrey and Pat Kramer. She is the executive director of Sustainable Organic Livelihoods, or SOIL, as its called. In one of numerous media accounts about her work, Kramer and SOIL were recently highlighted in an article in The New York Times as offering “a solution” to sanitation needs in Haiti. What’s more, the organization was recently visited by a troupe of filmmakers who are making a documentary due out in early January.

The Chenango County community will have an opportunity to hear Sasha’s first-hand account of the misery of countless thousands of Haitians living in inadequate housing and tent camps and to learn more about her not-for-profit organization at 7 p.m., Monday at the Guernsey Memorial Library in Norwich.

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