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HELP Alumni are Making an Impact in Earthquake Relief Efforts in Haiti

2021 is HELP's 25th Anniversary

HELP 25th Anniversary

HELP Alumni Providing Earthquake Relief

HELP Alumni Providing Earthquake Relief

Graduates of the Haitian Education & Leadership Program Assist After the Storm

The disaster has helped speed up the process and has shown the importance and the need for reinforcing such an initiative.”
— Nephtaly Pierre Louis
PORT-AU-PRINCE, HAITI, September 3, 2021 / -- The stories and images from southern Haiti following the powerful earthquake that hit on Aug. 14 and tropical storm Grace that hit days later are hard to take in. While the affected area is much less populated than Port-au-Prince, it is also poorer, more rural, and more remote, which makes it harder to get assistance to the victims.

The Haitian Education & Leadership Program (HELP) is proud to see several graduates involved in the relief efforts, some of whom are from the affected region. HELP is proud to have played a role in educating local trained leaders who are making a difference on the ground.

A prime example of HELP alumni’s impact is Nephtaly Pierre Louis (economics '17) who is working on relief efforts with his classmates from the Grand’Anse region where he grew up. Nominated a UNESCO ambassador in 2017, Nephtaly was volunteering on UNESCO's CARIDMA initiative, creating a network of youth trained in disaster preparedness and disaster risk management.

The project started in July, so when the earthquake struck on Aug. 14th the group had to cut their training short and jump into action. Two weeks after the storm, they collected enough food and sanitary products to prepare 50 kits for those affected by the earthquake. The team is working closely with local authorities to provide assistance where it is most useful; they intend to distribute the supplies in Duchity and Beaumont.

"The disaster has helped speed up the process and has shown the importance and the need for reinforcing such an initiative,” Nephtaly comments. “It has also helped me to see the eagerness among youth who could have been better prepared to face such a catastrophe, but there’s also hope and I am glad to be in a leadership role to make that happen for the next natural disaster."

HELP was also able to connect long-time partner Cross Catholic Outreach with their alumnus Fery Brunis (pharmacy '17). Cross Catholic Outreach has been providing relief efforts and Fery has been key to the success of those efforts.

Rodney Merard, International Project Coordinator at Cross Catholic wrote to say, "I thank you for connecting us with Fery. He has been very supportive, indeed. Thanks to his dynamism and his expertise, we have been able to secure about 95% of the medicine and medical supplies on our list. He also understood the urgency of the moment and has worked tirelessly, sometimes after hours. His efforts were greatly appreciated. Thanks again to you and the HELP network."

Other HELP Alumni who are involved in relief efforts in the affected region include:
- Dr. Emmanuella Delsoin (medicine '18) is National Director for Operation Blessing and began relief efforts the day after the earthquake. She was interviewed by WAVY in Virginia on August 26th.
- Dr. Jean-Kensley Germinal (medicine '12) and Dr. Jude Altema (medicine '15) both work at the largest hospital in the affected region. Dr. Altema is a native of the regional capital of Les Cayes.
- Nurse Roseline Duclair (nursing '16) runs the Lidè Foundation’s operations in Les Cayes.

HELP Alumni across all disciplines are making a difference in Haiti and are working towards a brighter future. While some are actively doing this work through storm relief efforts, all HELP graduates take the leadership skills they learned from HELP as well as the academic degrees they earned to work toward a better future, one that envisions a Haiti where disaster relief efforts are faster and more effective.

Samuel Connor
Haitian Education & Leadership Program (HELP)
+1 646-485-8667
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