Saving Lives With Trees: Reforesting Haiti

Melinda Miles, former Baldwinsville resident, will give a presentation about her work in Haiti at 7 p.m. tonight (Nov. 21) in the multi-purpose room at the Baldwinsville United Methodist Church.

Miles is co-founder and president of Konbit Pou Ayiti (KONPAY) an organization whose vision is to strengthen initiatives developed by Haitians to solve environmental, social or economic problems in their own communities. She has a 15-year history of commitment to projects for Haiti. For five years she coordinated the Haiti Reborn project at the Quixote Center in Washington, DC and accomplished such varied goals as leading the only team of independent international observers for Haiti's 2000 elections, coordinating nearly a dozen educational and human rights delegations, co-founding and leading the Let Haiti Live Coalition for a Just U.S. Policy, and planting more than one million trees in the northern watershed of the Riviere Mancelle.

Miles also acted as a board member and board chair of the Jubilee USA Network for five years. During this time she developed a broad network of contacts and colleagues in Haiti and working for Haiti. After the ouster of President Aristide in 2004, Miles moved to Haiti to have a more hands-on role. She distributed emergency assistance funds and supported the Commission of Women Victims for Victims, an organization working with rape victims in Port-au-Prince's slum areas. In 2007, Miles coordinated a breakthrough conference that allowed formerly embattled environmental leaders to launch a new collaborative vehicle, the Haitian National Coalition for the Environment.

Miles is the daughter of Baldwinsville residents, Marianne Miles and David Packard. She is pictured with her son.

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