Haiti’s worst earthquake in more than 200 years meant the loss of more than 220,000 lives, and the levelling of homes, schools and public buildings – in fact everything that lay in its terrible, twisted path. Many Haitians found themselves destitute, living in fetid conditions under canvas, with no basic sanitation facilities.
Amid the ruins, Just a Drop launched the ‘Just Help Haiti’ campaign and appealed to the travel and tourism industry to raise funds to supply clean, safe water to villages and communities following the disaster.
Just a Drop’s Project Engineer, Tim Kingham, who has over 40 years’ experience, has made several trips to Haiti since the earthquake. He has been working with Outreach International – a volunteer-based agency that places volunteers in carefully selected, meaningful projects; and Article 25 – a UK registered charity that designs, builds and manages projects to provide shelter in times of disaster and extreme poverty.
This summer, he travelled to the capital, Port-au-Prince once again, to see the difference that has been made in two of the schools that the campaign has been able to support so far. During his trip, Tim succumbed to a bout of Dengue fever and so our hats go off to him for his staunch determination to complete his mission!
The two schools benefited from being rebuilt simultaneously and Tim was pleased to report that both are now beginning to prosper. They are running well, with reliable rainwater collection systems and hygienic sanitation facilities. Children now have access to clean water, higher standards of hygiene and a much more comfortable environment in which to learn.
Ten year old Christlene, who attends Demichel School said, “When it was raining we all had to huddle together in a small corner of the school where it was not leaking. Now, the new school roof looks very nice. I am so happy that next year, we will not have to worry about the rain anymore! Also, because Just a Drop has helped us to collect rainwater, we now have clean water to drink, so we’re no longer ill.”
A sustainability plan has been drawn up at each school, to ensure correct and proper usage of the facilities. In addition, operation and maintenance programmes have been put in place to ensure the longevity of the work.
With this in mind, the model on which both were based has been shown to be viable and effective and one that can and should be replicated elsewhere.
During the project, a number of valuable lessons were learned that will help us to move forward with the next phase of our work. We are now focusing on the next programme of schools – working closely with Outreach International and Article 25 – and look forward to providing you with the next update in due course.
In the meantime, our sincere thanks to the following companies who generously supported the campaign: All Leisure Group, ATD Travel, Co-operative Travel, Kuoni Travel, Monarch, Reed Exhibitions, Sea Chefs, Southall Travel, Shearings Group, Thomas Cook, TUI UK Ltd and Virgin Holidays.