Haiti still needs support to rebuild after earthquake
Chester Ronning School students had a lunch of only bread and water as they went Hungry for Haiti to help save an orphanage in the third world country.
The bland lunch created awareness of the country's continued struggle to rebuild after an earthquake three years ago.
Members of the community were encouraged to donate the cost of lunch on April 12 to help save the God’s Little Angels orphanage in Haiti. "Haiti still needs our help. We want to instill a very tiny sense of how daily life is for the Haitians and an awareness of how fortunate we are to rarely feel hunger," said teacher Miss Marie Olson and a member of the Chester Ronning School's Go Hungry for Haiti Committee.
Three years ago, a devastating earthquake destroyed much of Haiti. Many children were left homeless and often without parents. Today much of Haiti looks the same, as rubble is still piled in the streets, tents are still being used as homes and orphanages are in even greater need.
"God’s Little Angels is the orphanage Chester Ronning School will directly support through our donations," said Marie.
Following the assembly, students return to their rooms, while waiting for “aid workers” to bring their lunch of bread and water. "We will gather on the floor with the heat turned down and create cards for the children of Haiti. Guests are welcome to join any class to share this time," added Marie. "We hope to instill in our students and ourselves a very tiny sense of how it is for the Haitians and an awareness of how fortunate we are to rarely feel hunger."
The school raised $3,000 in the first year, and that was matched by the government.
The 7.0 earthquake changed the lives of people in the country in just 30 seconds. Miss Olson further explained the situation. "Empathy means walking in another person's shoes. Try to understand a hurt, heartache and loss in another child, person, family and country. We can never truly know how anyone else feels about something, but we can make the attempt."
Cornerstone School staff member Steve Ioanieis recently returned from Haiti. "The roads are very bumpy and are made from the rocks from the mountain. The houses are not the same as we have here. Some are made from cardboard, tin or are tents," said Steve, to the Grade 3 class. "Most of the houses have brick walls around them to protect them from other people stealing from them. They often put barb wire along the top of the fence. After the earthquake, people were so hungry that they were stealing food."
Steve explained that the country has a lot of cars, but not very many rules of the road. "They like to beep their horns at each other. Most people like to sell goods along the street or side of the road. One big difference between Canada and Haiti is the amount of the garbage. They have so much garbage and it is everywhere."
Steve explained to the students that the country is so poor because they have had bad governments in the past. "The government didn't look after the people. They took the money for themselves. They have a new government now, and little by little, it is changing for the better."
The orphanage has two buildings. "One is for babies from newborn to two years old. They have between 30 and 40 babies," said Steve. "They have another house down the road a bit called the toddler house. There were 30 or more children as well. We spent most of the time playing with the babies."
The children have toys that have been donated. "Some of them don't work like they do here. Batteries are very scarce," said Steve, who volunteered for a week in Haiti. Each of the volunteers was required to raise money for the trip. "We raised about $27,000 in total and it went for the expenses to get the team over there. We also filled a couple of hockey bags with donated clothes and took them over. The Battle River School Division donated a laptop and we also had three desk top computers that we delivered. In the end, we will be donating more money from the expense money we had left over."
Donations can be dropped off at Chester Ronning School or to a staff member. The God's Littlest Angels orphanage is running short of the funds it needs to pay for food, diapers and medical supplies.
The orphanage helps children who have lost their parents. The school will be collecting funds until Thursday, April 19.