One year ago this week, the world was riveted on images of the destruction wrought by the magnitude 7.0 earthquake that hit Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Scientology Volunteer Ministers (VMs) were among the first to set foot in the devastated country after the quake, bringing with them medical teams, supplies and physical and spiritual aid for the victims.

When the post-earthquake images disappeared from the news, the Scientology Volunteer Ministers remained behind to continue training Haitians on practical Scientology technology that is helping them rebuild their lives and their country.

Before the earthquake, Haiti already suffered the lowest standard of living in the Western Hemisphere and was among the five worst worldwide. Thus effective help was needed at a grassroots level to provide the Haitian people with the wherewithal to change their lives.

Once the immediate medical emergency was over, the VMs established a base in the Port-au-Prince suburb of Pétionville and continued to train thousands of Haitian volunteers in the disaster relief techniques that have made the VMs’ bright yellow shirts a symbol of effective help in disaster zones around the world.

Hundreds of Haitian groups have now been trained and established, in turn providing disaster relief and training to thousands of their countrymen daily—in villages, schools and tent cities.
“Wherever these groups are active, we see real change,” says Pablo Arriaga Aguilar, who heads up the Volunteer Ministers in Haiti.  “People are no longer waiting for the authorities, whose services are stretched beyond the breaking point.  Rather, they use the practical tools they learn, from simple trauma relief to crowd control and the basics of organization, to make things better for their friends and families.  In these camps, apathy has been replaced by energetic optimism, productive activity and improved conditions.”

Whether feeding hospitalized cholera patients, lending the bright yellow Volunteer Ministers' tent to a teacher to provide classes to hundreds of children whose school was demolished, or working 24 hours straight to unload 100 tons of supplies shipped into Port-au-Prince, Scientology Volunteer Ministers from dozens of countries and the thousands of Haitian volunteers they have trained are living examples of the Volunteer Ministers' motto—“Something can be done about it.”

The Scientology Volunteer Ministers program was developed by Scientology Founder L. Ron Hubbard in 1976. An estimated 350,000 individuals are now trained in Volunteer Ministers technology.