Haiti One Year On: Implementing Sustainable Development

Maite_alvarez Maite Alvarez, Food Security and Livelihoods Manager,  Save the Children

Port-au-Prince, Haiti

Thursday, January 13, 2011

I worked in Haiti in 2004, when I responded to two natural disasters and civil unrest in Cap-Haïtien. Six years later not much has changed.

On top of the earthquake, Haiti has faced four emergencies in the last 10 months: hurricane season (Tomas flooded many of the flimsy tents around Port-au-Prince), then came the cholera epidemic and finally the pre- and then post-election violence. How can any country have the opportunity to bounce back let alone recover in such circumstances?

I was in Juba, Southern Sudan when I heard that an earthquake had struck Haiti. I could not believe my ears! Haiti has always held a very special place in my heart, maybe because I met my fiancé in Cap-Haïtien and because all the wonderful moments we experienced with all our Haitian friends dancing kompa and talking about why they would never leave Haiti. 

I work as part of the Food Security and Livelihoods team with Save the Children. We are 16 in total, 15 national staff and me. Sadly I am the only woman in the team, but we are trying to rectify this!

After the January 12, 2010 earthquake, a large proportion of Port-au-Prince residents lost all their belongings. Women, both as family providers and as small-market traders, have borne the brunt of this loss and income. One disastrous consequence is that without a reliable income families are no longer able to pay the school fees to keep their children in school. In Haiti it is the women who generate the majority of the household income.

Livelihoods underpin sustainable development. Save the Children’s goal is therefore to improve and diversify livelihood activities to enable families to provide appropriate care for their children, send them to school and ensure that they are healthy and well nourished. As we transition from the emergency phase to longer term development, our Livelihoods programme aims to support Haitian households to do this. 

My work is to increase and improve people’s access to employment opportunities, with a particular focus on the market traders who sell their wares in the Croix des Bosalle market – the major market in Port-au-Prince.

We also want to help small businesses such as carpenters and blacksmiths with grants to rebuild their industries. But in order to receive these grants, the entrepreneurs are required to take part in Business Development Services (BDS) training. By linking small-scale market traders to business development and microfinance services, we support traders to develop business plans and increase their knowledge of management capacities and knowledge and access to micro-credit and savings plans.

Our programmes also supply small grants with which people can recover the tools and household assets they lost during the earthquake – with the money a plumber can buy a wrench; a carpenter hammers and nails and a mother can buy pots and pans to cook for her children.

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Learn more about our recovery response to the earthquake in Haiti.

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Haiti One Year On: Safer Construction

Paul%20Neale Paul Neale, Program Manager for Safer Construction and Disaster Risk Reduction in Port-au-Prince, Save the Children 

Port-au-Prince, Haiti

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

I have been in Haiti since the end of January 2010 working as the Program Manager for Safer Construction and Disaster Risk Reduction in Port-au-Prince. I came out here with another international NGO as a shelter coordinator, but after their initial distribution of emergency shelter they switched focus to WASH – NGO parlance for water and sanitation health – and job creation for people affected by the earthquake.

So, I joined Save the Children at the end of April – the children’s charity I worked for in Aceh, Indonesia following the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004/5.

Our safer construction team in Haiti’s capital Port-au-Prince consists of six engineers, an assistant and me. Since April we have been strengthening temporary schools, building child friendly spaces and health clinics. Recently our focus has been on constructing cholera treatment units – CTUs.  

In total we have built four CTUs in partnership with Save the Children’s health and WASH teams.  It is my first experience of working in a cholera epidemic, which has so far claimed the lives of 3,600 people in Haiti.

CTU___7_80759Paul works alongside a camp resident to construct the cholera treatment unit in Gaston Magron
Photo Credit: Megan Savage

But what surprised me most is how incredibly easy it is to prevent and treat cholera – simple rehydration solutions will reverse the devastating effects of cholera on the body within one to three days. Obviously the earlier someone gets access to rehydration treatment the quicker they can make a full and speedy recovery.

I remember the first cholera case we had at our cholera treatment unit based at a place called Gaston Margron, where approximately 6,000 people are living in tent camps. It was a nine-year old boy. He was very sick when he arrived, but the next day he sat up looking for something to do – healthy again with the aid of an IV drip and rehydration!

In Haiti safer construction was originally simply called reconstruction. But we wanted to emphasise that Haiti had to build back safer and better. Already we are planning to build ten transitional schools in Port-au-Prince as well as more in Leogane and Jacmel. We hope these schools will act as a model of safer construction methodologies that will be replicated in shelters and other construction projects in the neighbouring communities.  

I’m also involved in managing the final stages of a tender process to appoint a local building contractor to construct schools in all three locations. It has taken time to get to this stage since we had to get our school design approved by the Haitian Ministry of Education. I am looking forward to getting contractors finalised and the start of school construction. It has been an arduous process, and I feel very sorry for the children studying in tent schools.

We also have to ensure the school authorities own the land where we plan to build – a crucial factor since we don’t want to end up in the awful predicament of having to tear down a school because of contested land ownership. And that’s a potential problem here in Haiti since pre-earthquake many of the schools were on rented land.

There are other problems too. There is limited capacity and skills for construction in Haiti. So, whilst we are completing construction projects we have to build the capacity of local tradesman, and monitor their progress carefully to ensure the highest possible building standards.

Port-au-Prince is not a large city, but because of poor road conditions and traffic it can take at least two hours to get to some of our sites. This limits what is possible to achieve each day. Also, most quality construction materials like timber have to be imported from places like the Dominican Republic, which takes time to arrive in country and clear customs. As a result of the cholera outbreak as well as election violence late last year it has been difficult to undertake ‘normal’ activities.

Before signing off I must mention how amazed I am by the resilience and good humour of the Haitian people. They have been through so much in the last year, and yet they always have time and a smile for you. They deserve a break and some luck in 2011. 

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Learn more about our recovery response to the earthquake in Haiti.

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Haiti One Year On: Our Work in Pictures

Dhheadshot Dave Hartman, Save the Children, Internet Marketing and Communications Specialist

Westport, CT

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

 

2010 was a busy year for Save the Children in Haiti. From the onset of the disaster our Voices from the Field blog kept readers informed about on-the-ground efforts in Haiti. We’ve created four Flickr slideshows that recap the progress we have made in providing relief to Haitians and look ahead at the work remaining to build back Haiti better. 

Miracle Baby Winnie

One of the early glimmers of hope was the rescuing of a baby named Winnie. She was pulled from the rubble by an Australian television crew and quickly treated for dehydration by Save the Children medical staff. In May and October our staff caught up with Winnie who is now a healthy and lively 2 1/2-year-old. Check out the album below to see the newest photos of this “Miracle Baby”.



Livelihoods Project

Cash for work, cash grants and asset recovery vouchers are among the programs that Save the Children supports, specifically targeting the most vulnerable families as identified by their own communities

The most vulnerable include female-headed households and families with one or members who are more chronically ill or living with disabilities. Some cash-for-work projects also reduce future disaster risks – for example, stabilizing river embankments in Jacmel and protecting families’ assets from flooding by cleaning canals in Léogâne. 

Through our support for farmers, fishermen and other small traders, Save the Children is contributing to economic recovery in Port-au-Prince, Léogâne and Jacmel.

These programs will ensure that families can provide food for their children, rebuild their homes and send their children to school.



Getting Schools Back on Track

Education is key to building a better future for Haiti’s children, and it remains one of Save the Children’s top priorities. We have provided tents, furniture and supplies so schools could reopen as quickly as possible, allowing children to learn in safe surroundings and regain a sense of normalcy. In addition, Save the Children has trained 2,300 teachers in disaster risk reduction so they’re prepared in the event of another earthquake and we have distributed school kits which include a backpack, notebooks, pencils and other essential supplies to more than 38,500 children.
 



Cholera Prevention and Treatment

Cholera first struck Haiti in October 2010 for the first time in decades. The global support Save the Children received, allowed us to respond quickly to the outbreak, which had not been seen in Haiti for decades. As cholera continues its deadly spread, Save the Children is intensifying efforts to prevent and treat additional cases in the areas where our health and hygiene teams already have a presence and have relationships with communities. Our health workers — reinforcing an intensive education campaign spearheaded by the government of Haiti and other international organizations — are broadening prevention and education activities to provide families with information about the importance of washing hands with soap, boiling water and seeking medical support at the first sign of illness.We aim to reach 600,000 people in six months with these activities.



On this one-year anniversary, of the earthquake, Save the Children and others have made a meaningful difference in the lives of millions of Haitians who have lost so much. But it is clear that the needs remain great and vast amounts of work lie ahead. The country’s children are both the most vulnerable, and the most resilient of its citizens. Investing in them offers the best chance for a better future for the nation as a whole. The global community must seize the opportunity to support a new Haitian government in creating meaningful change in the lives of some of the world’s most vulnerable children. Save the Children is committed to Haiti for the long-term, and the promises that the international community has made to Haiti and its children must be kept.

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Haiti One Year On: Change That Makes A Difference

Shaye Gary Shaye, Haiti Country Director, Save the Children

Port-au-Prince, Haiti

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

I’ve been working in Haiti since April and I’ve seen quite a bit of progress, especially over the past few months. 

But first before I share with you what we’ve doing to help Haiti’s children, let’s take a moment to reflect on the events of January 12, 2010.

As most people know at least 230,000 people died in the earthquake in a country that was tremendously poor even before the disaster. Indeed before the quake only about a third of Haiti’s population had access to safe drinking water, and half of Haiti’s children weren’t in school. 

The quake occurred here in Port-au-Prince – Haiti’s capital – the nerve centre of the heavily centralized country. Not only did the earthquake impact people in Port-au-Prince but also in places like Leogane, and along the south coast. Much of Haiti’s essential infrastructure was damaged, but I was especially shocked to learn that 4,000 schools were destroyed. It was a catastrophic event.

IMGP0268_64470A three-story building reduced to rubble.
Photo Credit: Kate Conradt 

Save the Children immediately responded to the earthquake. Because we’ve had a presence in Haiti for over thirty years we were able to mobilize staff both here and from around the world to mount one of the largest humanitarian responses in the agency’s 91-year history.  

Following the disaster, Save the Children focused on child protection, health, education, and livelihoods. We expanded our programs, and began work in Léogâne, as well as Jacmel, which is located along the southern coast where we had not previously operated.

Until recently there were 1.3 million people, about sixteen per cent of Haitians, living in tents. When I say tents we’re really speaking of plastic sheets and poles. These are not tents that people would take camping anywhere in the world. These are tents that are more like kite plastic held up by a few wooden poles. To believe it you really have to see the situation in which people are living. It is a standard below what I would say is sub-human.

HAITI-8552_71137Residents outside their tents at the Camp de Fraternite shelter camp.
Photo Credit: Lee Celano/Getty Images for Save the Children

During a strong hurricane there is absolutely no way that these plastic sheets and poles will withstand the wind and rain.

Beyond that another 500,000 people relocated to live with family and friends in rural areas. They’re part of the hidden earthquake-affected population that are not visible. They place a huge burden on their families in the rural areas who already had a hard time feeding themselves before the earthquake. Now these families have permanent houseguests who didn’t just come for a meal or a visit, but for the unforeseeable future.

The challenges that we face are multiple. The government, which was not strong before the earthquake, was further weakened since the disaster took the lives of many government workers as well as destroyed much of the existing infrastructure. Although NGOs have some successful partnerships with the government, more often than not the NGOs themselves either provide the service like, say, a health service, or it does not exist. All of us would certainly prefer that this was not the case, but this our reality.  

An example of that would be the fact that 80 per cent of the schools are privately owned in Haiti. These are not private schools like in Europe, the United States, Canada or Australia. These are schools whose owners operate them in the community as a service or small business. Many of these schools were destroyed last January, and many of the families whose children attended these schools can no longer afford the annual school fees of a few hundred dollars. As a result too many children are missing out on the chance of an education.

But when our team and I talk to Haitians, education is always the highest priority. It’s where they want to invest in their children’s future. It’s critical to them that these private schools open as soon as possible. That’s why in 2011 Save the Children will partner with 154 schools through teacher training and resource materials, enabling 45,000 children to get an education.

DSC_6683_74579Students file into a Save the Children school in Port-au-Prince.
Photo Credit: Susan Warner

On top of the quake in late October cholera came to Haiti starting in the Central Plateau, and has now expanded throughout the country. As of today, there have been 3,600 deaths as well as over 150,000 confirmed cholera cases.  

But these are just the reported cases. Many people living in rural areas don’t have access to cholera treatment centres, where literally within one to three days a person who has cholera can walk out healthy. 

The tragedy though is that we can save lives from cholera, but then people walk back into the conditions which are breeding grounds for the potentially deadly bacteria – dirty water, poor sanitation, and crowded conditions – all of which contribute to the rapid spread of cholera, and if left unchecked, can be deadly, especially to young children.

R10-HA___2021_81255Will, 3-years-old, washes his hands at a Save the Children health clinic.
Photo Credit: Susan Warner

Nevertheless Save the Children is saving lives through our tensoon to be sixteen cholera treatment units, and also through our water and sanitation community outreach programs where we promote safe hand washing, and basic sanitation practices. While these are simple practices we need to reinforce the messages and repeat them over and over, while also addressing basic sanitation issues. 

However, in a country where only half the people have completed fifth grade, it’s a challenge to get our message out about safe sanitation practices.

One year since the earthquake we understand why some people would be disappointed with the slow pace of recovery in Haiti, and why things are not better.  All of us working here would very much like to accomplish more. But it’s important to remember that things were bad in Haiti – the Western Hemisphere’s poorest nation – long before the quake.

Nevertheless we see progress. These past weeks I have visited programs together with some of our Save the Children supporters from around the world. I was in Leogane – the epicentre of the earthquake – where one could see rubble clearance, evidence of rebuilding, people restoring family assets, and refurnishing their houses. There is definitely a commitment and steps being taken here to help rebuild lives. 

That said the process has been slow.  All of us would admit to that – all of us who work cooperatively within Haiti’s NGO community. Indeed after I finish writing this blog I will attend the weekly meeting of NGOs where we share what’s working, what’s not working, and what type of support we need. We ask ourselves what we can do collectively to improve the situation. 

I’m proud to say that since January 12, 2010, Save the Children has extended a lifeline to over 870,000 Haitians – more than half of them children. Today we continue to work with local partners, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Health, and others to bring basic services to the Haitian population.

I believe in our work in Haiti. I believe we do make a difference. On Wednesday I visited the Eddie Pascal School – a school that was destroyed during the quake. Now children study in tents. In schools like these, where we provide assistance like teacher training, it is a delight to see Haiti’s children receive an education. And with all of the constraints that we face, I am pleased when I see one more child in school, and another child receiving quality medical care as well as lives being saved at one of our cholera treatment units. While seeing progress on a one-by-one basis may seem slow, it is precisely the kind of change that does make a difference.

R10-HA___1759_80097Rose, 10-years-old, attends a Save the Children school in Leogane.
Photo Credit: Susan Warner

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Haiti One Year On: Coordinating to Combat Cholera

Dr_Ribka_Amsalu

Dr. Ribka Amsalu Tessera, Emergency Health Advisor, Save the Children

Port-au-Prince, Haiti

Friday, January 7, 2011

I’ve been in Haiti since December 20 to provide cover for staff enjoying the festive season with loved ones. On Christmas Day I had time to relax – for an afternoon at least – as we enjoyed a turkey lunch. Later we visited three of our cholera treatment units and gave cakes as gifts to our staff working around the clock to prevent the spread of the virus and to save lives. We wanted to show our appreciation. It was a nice thing to do.

Angeline washes her hands to protect against cholera

Angeline washes her hands to protect against cholera.
Photo Credit: Susan Warner

Today I’ve been in a meeting of the health cluster including WHO – World Health Organization – since we have to prioritize where we are going to focus efforts on combating cholera. With so many cases of cholera now reported across Haiti it really is very important that we coordinate between all the agencies working on containing the cholera spread. It can take a lot of my time in coordination meetings but it is important to ensure we cover all the gaps.

It now looks like the cholera outbreak will last at least another three months, especially in the mountainous regions of Haiti. We’re now working on how we can reach people in these remote areas – another reason why coordination of all the agencies is important.

Educating camp residents about cholera

Hygiene promoter Arcliffe Laguerre leads a discussion on cholera prevention for residents of a Save the Children camp.
Photo Credit: Susan Warner

Earlier today we had some great news. Medical supplies needed to combat cholera arrived from Europe. We’d been waiting on these supplies for a while. Due to the scale of the cholera crisis in Haiti they’d been in short supply. So it is good they have arrived. But first we must work with our loggies – logisticians – whose job it is to have the supplies clear customs as quickly as possible. Then we can work together to get the supplies to clinics to help people affected by cholera. Hopefully we will get the supplies out and into the clinics very soon.

Today has been a good day.

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Learn more about our recovery response to the earthquake in Haiti.

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Haiti One Year On: Education as a Recovery Mechanism

PK_morley_miles_ramm_00 Carolyn Miles, Chief Operating Officer, Save the Children

Leogane, Haiti

Thursday, January 6, 2011

 

As I left Haiti today to travel on to India, my last remembrance was of a beautiful little girl named Beatrice (pictured below) who sang a little song in Creole for us inside her tented classroom. I thought of how because of a few hours time she was there today. 

Beatrice sings a song

We visited her school in Carrefour that is supported by Save the Children donors and heard from the headmaster how the three story school where Beatrice had studied until the quake had totally collapsed in January 2010, pancaking one floor on top of the other into a heap. Thankfully the children had already left by the late afternoon, otherwise, he said that literally hundreds of his students, including maybe the lovely little girl I met today would have been crushed. Tragically, the school did lose 4 of its students and many families lost loved ones.

But by April, Beatrice and her classmates were back in school – in tents versus a cement building but starting back to learning all the same. Getting kids back to school quickly after an emergency is one of the most effective ways to help kids deal with the trauma of a disaster.

The three large tents now each hold three classes, separated by a fabric barrier and filled with small wooden benches and desks. They are noisy and get hot in the spring and summer and until reinforced with more tarps recently, they leaked in the heavy rains. But no one we talked to – not the headmaster, not the teachers, not the parents, and certainly not Beatrice were unhappy with their tented classes. They were just happy to be back together as a school and learning. While the headmaster waits for access to land where he can rebuild, the tents will serve as classrooms for about 160 children.

Reading a magazine

Many of the schools like this one are what are called "private" schools in Haiti. Because the school system can't provide enough classrooms and the demand for education is high enough, a private school industry has existed for many years in Haiti. Parents pay between $100 and $300 per year for school, not including books, uniforms, and supplies. This cost represents a very big sacrifice for many families.

And the headmaster told us that this past year many of the parents could not pay school fees because they lost jobs and homes and spouses. He was hanging on, trying to keep his school running, paying rent and teacher salaries. The support from Save the Children in the form of tents, furniture, teacher training and supplies was a big part of what kept his students in school.

This school is one of 270 in Haiti that Save the Children has supported. Education is a key program for the future of Haiti and we hope to invest more and raise more funds for education in 2011. It remains the most important thing we can focus on for Haiti's children and meeting Beatrice today just made me all the more convinced that school has to be a big part of what Save the Children does in Haiti this year.

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Learn more about our recovery response to the earthquake in Haiti.

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Haiti One Year On: Revisiting Leogane

PK_morley_miles_ramm_00 Carolyn Miles, Chief Operating Officer, Save the Children

Leogane, Haiti

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

 

We started out early today to head to Leogane – the same drive I made 10 months ago on my first visit after the earthquake. With a beautiful morning dawning we started out and I have to say, I was hopeful as we passed into the epicenter area, the hardest hit by the quake.

Heading out to survey Save the Children programs

There were significant signs that progress was being made. All along the coast of the southern finger of land out from Port-au-Prince, rubble removal was evident and most importantly, the regular "busyness" of Haiti had returned. Little stalls selling clothes, mangoes, shoes, and all manner of car accessories – sometimes all from the same little wooden shop – had re-established root on the sidewalk or the edge of the road. Motorbikes and cars clogged the busy road and people were on the way to jobs, and kids to the first "official" day back to school, spiffed up in clean uniforms and shoes.

The camps and tents along the way were larger though, with more people and looked more established than I remembered. Clearly there were still many people who had not moved back to their homes or towns.

As we drove into Leogane city, I was again struck by the number of people out on the streets and the contrast with those much quieter times after the earthquake. People then were still living in fear of the aftershocks and many were in full mourning for the ones they had lost – mothers, fathers, sons, daughters and so many others.

 

Sharing a story

 

We reached the Save the Children office in the middle of town and hundreds of people were there – volunteers and staff all with particular assignments to go work in the camps, on water and sanitation projects, or with local schools. We quickly said hello to Samuel, the head of Leogane office and headed out to the programs. As we drove down the road, several large trucks full of rubble rumbled by – it seemed here in Leogane the clearing process was still needed but a lot of progress had been made.  We saw backhoes and frontloaders – both non-existent in the country after the quake – moving tons of rubble. They say only about 10 percent of the rubble has been cleared in Port-au-Prince still but Leogane clearly had made much more progress.

We first visited the recently completed school constructed by Save the Children just down the road from the center of town. While today was the first day of school officially, many of the kids typically don't show up till later in the week. Still, there were about 60 children there, dressed in crisp white shirts and blue skirts or shorts, the girls' hair with white ribbons, beads and bows. Many of these children were living in tents or simple plywood houses after the earthquake and we marveled over how much effort must have gone in to preparing them for school.

The school itself was very uniquely constructed to withstand earthquakes and hurricanes, with open vents along the top and sides and wood construction meant to "give" with flaps of plastic sheeting that could be rolled up and down depending on the temperature and winds.  The headmistress of the school spoke with us and seemed very happy with the way the school and her pupils were starting the new year.  

Making new friends

In a class of what looked like 4th graders, the lesson was on fractions, with a little girl next to me afraid to raise her hand. I urged her on, but she confided she had not remembered to study fractions over the holiday break with a shy smile – kids are the same everywhere. I thought about my own 3rd grade daughter who also didn't do much studying over break!.

We headed next to the Save the Children health clinic and baby tent.  The clinic is made up of two open air shelters and 3 small medical services structures. In one, a midwife examined pregnant moms, gave advice on family planning, and examined toddlers.

In another, a full pharmacy was operating with medicines available free to the local residents. In the third building, several nurses weighed and measured babies, helped mothers breastfeed and gave out supplemental food to malnourished children. The malnutrition rate in Haiti was over 60 percent before the earthquake and it continues to be a major problem. Mothers could take home supplies of Plumpy'nut, a peanut-based meal in a pouch which significantly reduces malnutrition in young children, from the health clinic.

Visiting with patients of a cholera treatment unit

The clinic was impressive, with over 50 patients being served when we arrived. Our worry was about on-going funding though, as much of the earthquake funding would soon be used. In fact the ability to keep many of the programs going without increased funding is a constant worry for our staff in Haiti. Though we raised over $88M for the response, clearly there were many programs that were going to have to continue. Our original 5 year plan called for a budget of $175M and we are far short of that goal now.

But as we headed off from the health clinic, I knew we had to continue these programs somehow and hoped that the anniversary of the earthquake might remind people of the needs in Haiti again.

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Learn more about our recovery response to the earthquake in Haiti.

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Stars Turn Out for Save the Children Bingo Night Benefit for Haitian School

Cindy Cindy LaBlanc, Save the Children, Senior Specialist, Internet Marketing and Communications

Westport, CT

Friday, October 22, 2010

I’ve been told I have the “dream” job. I manage the social media for a cool organization that does amazing things to help children all over the world, including the US. Well, this month was no exception to living an exciting life while doing good.

I was invited to attend and do “live” social updates at a star-studded Bingo Night Haiti benefit in Hollywood right on the famous CBS studio lot.

The goal was to raise $100,000 to build a new Save the Children-supported school in Haiti. The school will have six classrooms and Save the Children will ensure it has skilled teachers and quality teaching materials so the children can learn and have a better future. Save the Children has served the needs of some of Haiti’s poorest children and families since 1978, including their Haiti emergency response after the earthquake in January 2010.

As I arrived at the Bingo Night event, I turned the corner onto New York Street (a full-scale “street set” within the CBS lot) and was struck with the breathtaking scene that stood before me; glittering garlands of white lights criss-crossed the street, along with bright red table coverings & gleaming white patio chairs. As I admired the scene I noticed that the guests were rapidly showing up.

Equipped with an iPhone and a back-up digital camera, I proceeded to seek out some of the prominent guests and other stars in order to share with Save the Children’s Facebook & Twitter followers so that they too could feel a part of the evening.

As the guests arrived, they soon drifted over to the “silent” auction tables to see what interesting items were donated and up for auction. Auction items included guitars from Melissa Etheridge and Maroon 5, fabulous destination rentals and beauty treatments, among other fun things.

I introduced myself to many of the celebrity guests and asked if I could take their photos and share them with Save the Children’s followers on Twitter and Facebook. They were delighted to help and graciously stood steady while I snapped a photo with my iPhone. They hoped that by sharing the evening with our followers (and their friends) that it could help bring awareness to the needs of the children in Haiti and would encourage others to help, as well.

As I spoke with Garcelle Beauvais (NYPD Blue and The Jamie Foxx Show), she mentioned that this benefit to build a school was close to her heart because she was born in Haiti and feels a special kinship with helping children have a chance at a better future.

Another amazing star that I met was Kevin McKidd (Grey’s Anatomy). Besides being one of the nicest guys you could meet, he has already done so much to help Haiti’s children. Recently, Kevin partnered with Save the Children to do celebrity auctions on eBay Giving Works. In very little time, he exceeded his goal of raising over $5,500 to help children in Haiti; and he is committed to continuing his efforts in other ways. Stay tuned…

As I was snapping a photo of Fred Savage (Wonder Years), the Bingo caller announced that the first round of Bingo was about to begin. Everyone, including Fred, sprinted to the tables to start their first game. With the dazzling Bingo board lit up, the numbered balls started to bounce.

“Bingo!” was yelled out and people jumped up and claimed victory. Who knew the game could be so exciting.  This was not my mom’s bingo, for sure! Glancing around I saw many celebrities and prominent guests including Matthew Perry, Kelli Bellows, Kevin McKidd, Hank Azaria, Rebecca McFarland and Anthony Lapaglia, smiling and laughing as they marked their numbers while exchanging banter amongst their table.

Next, came an auction led by the lively and vivacious Nicole Sullivan (MADtv and The King of Queens). Proceeds from this auction also went towards the new school in Haiti.

As the balmy, star-filled night came to an end, people slowly made their way out with smiles on their faces and a look of satisfaction that they were a part of helping children in Haiti get a new school and the chance for a better future.

I felt honored to be able to share this special evening with our fans and followers with the hope that they will continue the efforts of sharing, spreading awareness and helping the children in Haiti.

Learn more about our emergency response to the earthquake in Haiti.

Helping Haiti: Technology a Foundation for Reaching Those in Need

Dhheadshot Dave Hartman, Save the Children, internet marketing and communications specialist

Westport, CT

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

 

 In its new blog Inveneo details how the company is helping Haiti build back better. A newly announced partnership with the ETKA Foundation and Microsoft will "accelerate the deployment of a high-speed, broadband wireless network in rural population centers and technology for schools throughout Haiti."

This isn't the first time Inveneo has used its technical capacity to aid Haiti. The disastrous earthquake on January 12 decimated the capital, Port-au-Prince, its environs and much of Haiti's infrastructure. Communication became near impossible.

"The need for information far exceeded our capacity," Gary Shaye, Haiti country director of Save the Children, said.

Watch the video to learn more from Gary

Inveneo helped NGOs like Save the Children restore their communications systems by setting upsatellite-linked long-distance wi-fi network in Port-au-Prince 

"Our ability to respond to the earthquake increased dramatically," Shaye said. "It’s really important for NGOs to divide their responsibilities and get as great of coverage as possible."

With our communication lines restored, our staff could ensure that relief efforts reached as many areas as possible, eliminating duplication of efforts and ensuring that we reached children and families in most need of assistance.

You can find Inveneo's full blog post here here

Recycling for Change in Haiti’s Camps

RSZDCROPMichele062007_Adv #54 Michele Beauvoir Chandler, Save the Children Haiti, deputy director of human resources 

Port-au-Prince, Haiti

September 7, 2010


Youth living in camps in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, held an art expo last Friday, September 3.  This was no ordinary art show – these children were demonstrating how they can take what others view as waste and not only turn it into art, but also turn it into a livelihood.

IMG_4200 Maxon Aubourg, 15, demonstrated the skills he learned through creating a handbag out of recycled candy wrappers from the Archachon 34 camp.  “This can help us in the future because we can show how waste can be used,” says Maxon.

After thorough cleaning, children participating in Save the Children’s Water, Sanitiation and Hygiene Promotion programs take waste materials like plastic bags and candy wrappers and weave them into handbags, picture frames and bracelets. Additionally, they create garbage cans out of plastic bottles that are placed throughout the camp to promote more hygienic living conditions.

IMG_4199 Nicolas Louis, 17,  presents the garbage cans he created for the Ste. Therese camp

At the expo on Friday, children and youth displayed their items for sale, engaged in workshops about their rights and learned how to treat water so that it is safe to drink.

IMG_4214 Youth from three Port-au-Prince camps participate in activities including songs that teach them about their rights

Items were available for sale at the Save the Children Port-au-Prince office, with the proceeds going towards the programs so the youth could continue to create their art and learn innovative ways of waste management.


IMG_4190 The variety of items on sale included handbags, placemats, visors, sandals and picture frames

“One of the most incredible results of this program has been the way it has impacted entire camp communities,” says Maude Marie Sanon, a Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Coordinator with Save the Children in Haiti.  “Save the Children no longer provides garbage cans – the camps are creating them for themselves out of recycled materials.”

IMG_4196

Maude proudly displays the items made by children living in three of Port-au-Prince’s camps