(Above: Kids jump rope at Terrain Acra, where Emmett Fitzgerald works as Camp Manager)
When the world saw the devastation Haitians were suffering after the earthquake in January, individuals around the globe took action to help.
Lucy K. - a 3rd grader in Minnesota - raised $791 from her family and friends to send to families in Haiti who needed help. Along with the check, Lucy sent this message:
I have been colecting money for about a month. I got money from my friends, my family, and my grandmother's friends. I hope you use it wisley.
When our staff in Haiti heard about Lucy and all of the other people who had raised money to help in Haiti, they were moved to respond in some way. Below is a letter Emmett Fitzgerald, ARC's Camp Manager at the 25,000 person Terrain Acra Camp, wrote to thank Lucy for helping strangers thousands of miles away:
Thank you so much for the effort you made to raise such a huge amount of money for ARC through your friends and family. You have done such a wonderful job!
My name is Emmett and I am the new Camp Manager for a camp called Terrain Acra in Port au Prince. I promise I am going to try my best to spend the money you raised wisely.
To give you some idea of what we are doing with the money you raised - and the money other generous folks have contributed, I want to tell you a little bit about what ARC does in my camp. First of all we have a health clinic tent with doctors and nurses from Haiti and USA. They offer very basic health care and if someone comes in with a more serious problem, we have a car to bring them to a nearby hospital which can help them with more facilities and services.
In the camp, we have also built latrines and showers because all the people living in temporary shelters don’t have access to a bathroom or running water.
My favorite part of our program is the Child Friendly Spaces we have built in the camp. A Child Friendly Space is a place in the camp where children can go for a few hours each day to play and sing songs and draw safely while their parents go to work. It is a bit like a school, but we don’t have formal lessons and all the children are waiting for their old schools to re-open once the ones destroyed by the earthquake can be rebuilt.
We recently did a report on the Child Friendly Spaces in which we asked people if the the Child Friendly Spaces are helping children. I found the results really interesting. At first after the earthquake, lots of the children who came each day were still frightened and shocked because they had lost their homes and were living in a very new place that they found a bit scary. So when they arrived, lots of the children were shy and didn’t want to play with other children. But now, after a few months of playing and singing together, lots of the children are starting to make friends and play with toys and laugh much more.
So these are the sorts of things that we are doing with all your generous donations. I hope you can tell your Grandma and others who helped you raise so much that we are trying our best.
Camp Manager, Terrain Acra