|MAR 2010||> News-index|
An invitation from the TOS in America to aid Haiti
On the evening of January 12, here in the USA we were just hearing the news about the severity of the earthquake in Haiti. By the next morning we were receiving emails from TOS groups and individual members all around the world wanting to know how they could help. At the outset it was clear that the immediate need was for emergency aid. We encouraged everyone to donate to those providers best equipped to mobilize for massive delivery of emergency supplies and services – the Red Cross, Doctors Without Borders, CARE, etc.
The devastation in Haiti was so extensive that it was evident no short term solution was possible. At the TOS/USA we began looking for an organisation we could support after the initial rush of aid and interest subsided. We wanted someone with history and experience in Haiti who would be there for the long haul. Our search brought a number of focused local organisations to our attention. In the process I remembered a remarkable woman I had met a number of years ago – Gladys Sylvestre Thomas. I had met her at a conference in Winston-Salem, North Carolina where she was speaking about the work she was doing in Haiti. Gladys was born in Haiti, but had moved to the USA. She had married, begun a career, and was raising a family. On a visit to Haiti she was overwhelmed by the great need she witnessed, particularly the suffering of children. Although she did not know exactly what she was going to do, or how, she resolved that she was going to help. Through a series of fortuitous and unlikely events, she began by taking in an orphaned child. This initial effort grew into a formal orphanage. As her work in Haiti grew, she left the USA, moved back to Port au Prince and began working full time in her growing orphanage. It is a story filled with one seeming miracle after another, but over time the scope of her work expanded until at the time of the earthquake her organisation, Federation pour les Enfants d’Haiti (FEH) consisted of 3 residential orphanage facilities (for children 2-14 years old; for nursery age children; and for developmentally disabled children), a 50 bed hospital, a school, and a micro lending operation.
FEH is uniquely positioned to serve the people of Port au Prince. First of all, it is run by Haitians for the children of Haiti. Over their years of operation they have formed valuable links with a number of the major world service organisations and NGOs operating in Haiti. These connections enabled them to begin helping immediately after the earthquake. They received supplies of water and medicine which made it possible that two days after the earthquake the hospital built to serve 50 people was aiding 1000. When the harm from the earthquake was assessed, miraculously, all of the FEH structures had escaped serious damage.
We are happy to invite you to support the operation we have selected. Donations for this work can be sent to the TOS/USA where they will be consolidated and sent to FEH. Within the USA, please mail your check to: TOS, PO Box 660, Warrenville, IL 60555 or donate online at www.theoservice.org, specifying “Haiti”. From other countries, you can make an electronic transfer directly from your account to the TOS-USA account. For instructions on how to do this, contact Jeanne Proulx at firstname.lastname@example.org a copy to the TOS international secretary (email@example.com ).
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