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Who We Are

who we are


CDI was created by a group of committed, passionate and motivated young professionals from around the world. We are currently a registered not-for-profit corporation in New York State and are looking into opportunities for domestic and international expansion.


WHAT does CDI do?


CDI aims to build cross-cultural and international bridges between individuals and groups concerned with issues surrounding international collaborative and sustainable development. By leveraging resources and volunteer experts for a variety of projects, both local and international, CDI facilitates the implementation of ecological, targeted and participatory socio-economic development projects. Our vision is to be a truly “bottom-up organization”, to advocate, to provide a forum for dialog and hands-on opportunities for people to volunteer in these projects which span the areas of health, education, agriculture, eco-enterprise, energy and environmental protection.


HOW did CDI come about? 

All active members of the United Nations Association, in November 2009, CDI-founders Matthias Resch, Kevin Jamison and Veronica Sarrabayrouse traveled to Haiti together as part of a year-long program they had been working on with UNA. Each of them had travelled widely before and have experience in some of the worst off places in this world. They all had previous professional, volunteer and academic experience in the fields of international relations, law, development, cooperation, poverty alleviation, and human rights and have over 14 years of working experience on various projects in Haiti alone. 


After the Earthquake on January 12th, 2010, the three quickly banded together and formed an expert volunteer team who traveled to Haiti to assist one of the communities they had gotten to know through their previous work and trips. Four weeks after the disaster, they led a team to Haiti that provided medical and humanitarian relief to over 1,000 people. Inspired by what had been achieved, on a volunteer basis, the motivation was born to continue “to get things done.” and “to do things differently." To encourage others to commit some of their time and resources to providing assistance and support to the less fortunate people in disadvantaged and developing countries. The result is CDI. An organization that includes many volunteers we already had the pleasure to work with as part of the humanitarian relief team and is quickly growing. At CDI, above all, we intend to be inclusive, participatory, ecological, sustainable and truly “bottom-up”. At CDI, we value solidarity, our common humanity, dialog, focus, respect and compassion.


WHERE did CDI get its inspiration?


The earthquake in Haiti on January 12th destroyed most of Port-au-Prince and other major communities, killing over 200,000 people and leaving millions displaced. Once the news arrived, Kevin, Matthias, Veronica and friends immediately started an internet campaign and relief drive. Over the next days we strategized our response. Soon we had our first fund-raising event—to the benefit of our targeted partner: A small school project in one of the worst-affected areas of Port-au-Prince. We had been partnering since the previous year when we worked on a year-long campaign raising awareness about Haiti and its issues in New York City.


Late in February, our team of 14, including medical professionals, arrived in Port-au- Prince. We had spent a month and a half collecting donations, advocating at events, networking, sorting and packing goods. We were joined by dozens of volunteers— strangers who came together offering their time, their cars and their networks. We flew in eight pallets of priority goods—about 7,000 pounds in 110 boxes—and brought 26 large crates filled with supplies, like blankets, diapers, water, food, sanitary products, towels, sandals for the children and flashlights. Several hundred of boxes of clothing which were shipped by sea also arrived in Haiti since then.

On our daily ride to the work site, we got used to seeing entire street blocks flattened. We passed the remnants of the National Palace and the Cathedral. In most cases, the scene was a pyramid of debris on top of which a single person worked the rubble with a hammer. Children played in what seems to be the greatest adventure playground: Cuts, falls and trips are a constant danger. Our medical team spent considerable time treating injuries large and small that resulted from accidents. During our stay, the dead continued to be pulled out from the devastation.


Few of the people we came to assist had tents. There were no toilets. On site, we set up a medical tent, a registration station, and a play-tent for the children. We divided roles among the team: registration, child-care, medical care, translation, logistics/supplies etc. Apart of our own presence throughout the week, there was little other visible help in the area. Only one organization maintained two large water bladders in the community. The local population had not been beneficiary of the “rice surge” which had been orchestrated during February.


We registered most of the students. Many of them lost relatives and, to this day, it is not uncommon to find teenaged children seeing after the wellbeing of their siblings. When we arrived, the kids were thirsty, starving, and feverish. We gave them water and food. We sang songs and did arts and crafts with them. We provided medical attention to hundreds suffering from injuries, infections, scabies and symptoms of malnutrition. We rushed two pregnant women to the general hospital’s maternity ward. We fostered partnerships and laid the groundwork for future reconstruction of the school. Our work may have been but a drop in the ocean. Yet, it is grassroots actions like this that amount to significant change, that show alternatives and that can inspire us to act together and create real and tangible impact for the people we work with. THIS is what makes CDI.



Community Development International, Inc. (CDI) is a non-profit organization, incorporated under the laws of the State of New York and is a federally registered 501(c)(3) organization. This website has been prepared solely for the purpose of providing information about CDI and the services and outreach it offers. This website has been compiled in good faith by CDI. However, no representation is made as to the completeness or accuracy of the information it contains. In particular, please note that information on the site may be incomplete, may contain errors or may have become out of date. CDI reserves the right to add, modify or delete any information at this website at any time.


CDI's Web site may contain links to other sites. CDI is not responsible for the nature of the content or the privacy practices of other linked sites nor for any information that may be posted on these sites after CDI has linked to them. CDI reserves the right to add, modify or delete any information at this website at any time.

Copyright © 2011 Community Development International