SMH: Sean Penn Says Haiti Is Still At Least A Year Away From Any Major Rebuilding

- By Bossip Staff

For almost a full year, Sean Penn has been sleeping in a tent in Haiti in one of the largest camps barely housing more than a million people left homeless by last January’s earthquake.

And Penn says the people under his care at the Petion-Ville Club, and others throughout Port-au-Prince are barely any closer to permanent housing then they were a year ago.

“The [current] projects are shelter-focused with connective tissues to basic services, but even the most well-funded among them are poised to take very small cautious steps in terms of permanent housing,” Penn told us of the current situation on the ground in Port-au-Prince. “There are 1.2 million people displaced, and only small pilot projects in the foreseeable future. The current challenge is the definition or the selection of beneficiaries [for funds both raised and promised], meaning among these extremely vulnerable populations, we can expect nothing more than demonstration models in 2011.”

In March, Penn was named an International Organization of Migration-designated camp manager at the Petionville Golf Club facility, which, according to AOL News, is “one of the most complex temporary camps in Haiti” with more than 55,000 residents. J/P HRO, the organization Penn founded with Sarajevo-born philanthropist Diana Jenkins, has provided mobile medical units that regularly treat 350-400 patients a week in neighborhoods near Petionville and in camps that do not provide medical services. The organization has also opened a women’s clinic — one fully run by Haitian women — that has provided 7,000 women with medical care and has offered family planning, hygiene and prenatal education services to nearly a thousand more. A temporary school has also been built in camp, and the organization has been recognized by IOM (the United Nations agency responsible for camp management and coordination) for its rubble removal method.

The two-time Oscar winner, who next stars in acclaimed director Terrence Malick’s ‘Tree of Life,’ believes that one of the more pressing needs in the country right now is greater oversight of the money pledged early last year at the U.N.’s Haiti donor conference.

“Quite frankly, in a time where most call for either a recount or a complete do-over of the election, it’s my view that the Haitian people would be better served by complete do-over of the donor’s conference. Rather than smoke-and-mirror pledges of money, the international donors would be held to the same value of their initial pledges,” he said. “But they’d also have to specify what area of infrastructure they’d take responsibility to implement, and by what date, so the value of their pledges would come to completion. We need this accountability in housing, schools, hospitals, and nationwide access to clean water.”

Asked if there was any one thing he felt wasn’t being given enough attention in the worldwide conversation on the disaster in Haiti, Penn told us, “Yes. I believe it’s time for our country’s donors to be educated about where their dollars go and, in the future, be able to guide those dollars to the organizations that truly represent their intentions.”

Discussing his work in Haiti earlier this month with The Hollywood Reporter, the actor said he hopes to spend as much of this year as possible in the island nation. He will likely, however, have to return to acting sooner than he expected. “I didn’t have commitments, except for way in the future; I had nothing pressing,” he told THR of how he was able to spend most of 2010 in Haiti. “I got practical issues [now] … I had just got taken for one-half of everything I had in the divorce [from actress Robin Wright], so it’s not like I don’t have to work.”

But Penn’s commitment to Haiti remains unwavering. “There is no exit for me until there is more life than death. I can always see light in any situation,” he told Vanity Fair last summer. “I can see the light very clearly in terms of the ‘big picture’ for Haiti.”

SMH at throwing his ex-wife under the bus in the midst of being a good guy. And at the international community for fake-holding Haiti down.


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  • that damn sh#$ disturber

    always thought he was an excellent actor but i have a whole new respect for him now!!!

    • speaking of this ish...

      Sean Penn is right..Haiti is soooo far from become self sufficient..God help them

  • NicoleSaidIt

    I’m all for helping but I’d be damned if I voluntarily slept in a tent for a year!

  • mjs fanatic

    I repect him for that. God bless him.

  • confidently_ugly

    I appreciate what this guy does…It would be easier to cut a check but he “stays in the trenches.” I have always respected that about him. He is very giving and has done a lot of “off camera” work. just like- Wyclef 😉

  • nywoman23

    i almost called him sean paul by accident. anyway mr penn can get it.

    • Tray

      That’s funny, I took one look at that picture, the strength of his arms, and the amount of caring and empathy in his heart and said the same thing…he can get it!!!

  • samech

    I have a new found respect for him…..I still can’t believe that place is not fixed yet with all the money they got….wow!

  • dee

    Sean Penn is walking the walk… God Bless HIm and the people of Haiti, I hope they can recover sooner than later. But it seems as if the whole world is under judgement right now… God help us all.

    • Hmmm.....

      Where is Wyclef? Nothig but talk.

  • thesaneone

    sean penn is there because he is completing community service hours for a drug conviction. dont be fooled.

  • ocapkid aka zoe boi

    I appreciate all the work he’s doing there

  • LILO

    Wow… this dude Sean P is for real..Thx man for
    helping out black folks.

  • Just sayin'

    Nothing but talk? Clef’s Yele organization was cleaning the streets of Haiti & feed the children b4 the Quake. A job the govt of Haiti should have been doing. What progress after 1 year? The HISTORICAL Iron Market was rebuilt, in about 10months but you wont see that in the media.

  • truthbetould

    Jesus……look at those arms. Shorter version of Samson

  • I'm Just Me...Keeping It Real Since: 1983 GLOK AND NYMP..Y'ALL KILLING ME!!!

    Wow! i had no idead he was doing this at all. I do wonder where a lot of that money went. Seems a lot of people (in his opinion) were talking about it, not being about it.

  • Ebonypoopoo

    HE IS THERE trying to DO something to help. Everyone else whose criticizing with a roof over their heads and food in their stomachs — be very grateful!

  • Jason

    Where is wyclef? He don’t win so he don’t waznt to play no more. N***a please!

  • juliemango

    Theres gonna be more death there for at least another year so seanp is gonna have to dedicate another yr of his life to haiti while his ex-wife lives it up with her divorce settlement!!!

  • Illuminate Truth "the strong rule the weak but the wise rule the strong"

    The US, British and Dutch are trying to reduce Haiti to rubble so they can go in and take over the oil which has been tapped and padlocked since the 1960s. The US and their oil companies have documented that they would use it as a reserve when middle eastern oil wasn’t as available.

    So while everybody is trying to “aid” Haiti, my question is this: Why can’t the people of Haiti make use of THEIR OWN natural resources to rebuild THEMSELVES. Chavez in Venezuela and the Cubans have offered to supply the Haitians with the equipment and expertise to tap their own oil….oh, but I forget…those countries are “the enemy”….GTFOH.

    • Blue Kid

      You are right the Illuminati/Devil got Sean Penn there for a reason and it as nothing to do with helping the Haitian people out.

  • NikkayDontgiveafizzukk

    He might be there for the easy access to littile boys Sorry but nowadays i cant help but go there coz unever know if there is an ulterior motive.

    If he is there for all the right reasons then power to him!

  • don't ask

    I applaud him for what he is doing. Putting walk to the talk.

  • Nita

    wowww! may God continue to Bless this man! He has such a huge heart!
    Haiti is worst than ever and i cannot believe they already resumed deportation back to haiti in less than a year! woww how selfish can Ice and Obama Organization be!
    Haiti has enough to handle already! and now they are deporting them back to their death bed! How hearless can people be woww!
    God Please stop the deportation to haiti! Please Help Haiti! Especially the beautiful innocent babies and kids there.

  • Courtney

    I now have a whole new respect for Sean Penn and I really pray that everything works out for the people of Haiti. Things do take time though.




    It’s 2011 people. Time to move on from the old news.


  • Gr8r

    African country? Haiti is in the Caribbean!

  • Kimmie

    It’s great to see a celebrity put action behind their words.

  • TheHaitianDiva

    Thanks Sean Penn!! We, haitians, are soooo grateful to you. ALWAYS!!! You not only talk the talk, you also walk the walk, kudos to ya!! May God bless you!!!

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