by Lynn Shapira
Following a very inspiring experience of the Haiti Family Initiative’s 2010 Wellness Summer Camp in Jacmel, we have made the decision to do it again this summer.
After the devastating 7.0 magnitude earthquake in January 2010, last summer, one hundred primarily Delaware volunteers helped staff a summer camp in Haiti serving 150 mothers and their children. Every day for seven weeks, we bussed most of these homeless families from the tent city of Jacmel, where thousands of people still live in filthy, unsafe conditions. Our simple goal was to provide water, a nutritious lunch, recreation, games and happiness, if only for a few days.
Camp programs include sports, arts and crafts, music and drama, dance therapy, introduction to English and French language and personal hygiene training. Programs for women include sustainable employment skills, hygiene training, sewing and grief therapy. A medical clinic will also be located at the same site. This summer, the program will run during the weeks from July 9-30.
Unfortunately, too many outside that impoverished country feel the crisis in Haiti is over, and as a result, the level of volunteerism is down. But the facts on the ground, sadly, are very different. The country continues to grapple with some of the most fundamental human needs: clean water and food, shelter, education and, most importantly, hope. And that is why we are inspired to go back again this summer.
Our hope is that TownSquareDelaware readers can help us by spreading the word to family or friends who might be interested in this effort. This can range from monetary donations for the food that we will provide during the camp (the staple for these children is rice and beans, which we can buy at the local market and it is sometimes the only meal they have that day), to sponsoring a child (there are approximately 168 children in our group that are not able to attend school in September because they do not have shoes, a uniform or the $150 that is needed to attend).
Of course, we are also always looking for hearty volunteers who can join us in actually going to Haiti and helping these wonderful people in both our medical and non-medical program this summer.
For more information, please visit our website www.haitifamilyinitiative.org or contact Carole Downs firstname.lastname@example.org) or Lynn Shapira 302-563-2296 – email@example.com with any questions.
Lynn Shapira, a Delaware-based jewelry designer is the co-founder of the Haiti Family Initiative (HFI). Lynn’s involvement in helping the Haitian people began almost immediately after the earthquake of 2010. Just a few days after the earthquake her husband, a surgeon, along with a few friends, ventured to Jacmel, Haiti to aide those victims not yet able to be seen by physicians. This mission developed into the Delaware Medical Relief Team. Armed with new resolve after taking part in a fact-finding mission to Jacmel in March 2010, she and fellow enthusiast, Carole Downs enlisted other organizations, enrolled volunteers, collected supplies and raised enough funding to form a viable non-for-profit organization, the Haiti Family Initiative (HFI)