Helping hands offer relief to Haitians
Shanghai American School reaches out … As you all know by now, on Tuesday, January 12, 2010, at 4:53pm, a magnitude 7.0 earthquake hit Haiti. The quake’s epicenter was approximately 15 kilometers from the country’s capital, Port-au-Prince. The devastating event was followed by at least 50 aftershocks which registered 4.5 or higher on the Richter Scale.
On January 20, Marno Van der Maas, an SAS Puxi campus HS senior, led the entire school in a moment of silence. In one week, the high school donated just over 10,000RMB. Through the efforts of both students and staff, members from student groups such as Roots & Shoots, the Business Club, Habitat for Humanity, Community Service, Teens Act for AIDS, National Arts Honor Society, and Hopewell have conjoined their resources to aid in the efforts to help the people of Haiti. This collaboration of student groups is the first of its kind and is a testament to the commitment of students in their desire to affect global change. The leaders of these student groups collectively are choosing to work with UNICEF to raise money through a variety of events. Events in the planning stage include “empty bowl” sales, bake sales, a basketball 5-on-5 event, and a coffee house night of inspirational monologues. Similar efforts are happening at schools on each campus.
Haiti, a small country of nine million people, is the poorest country in the western hemisphere and among the poorest in the world. The CIA World Factbook estimates 80% of Haitians live below the poverty line. Deforestation has caused drastic erosion, leaving Haiti’s people vulnerable to substantial landslides during the rainy season. Crime and civil unrest also plague this beautiful country.
According to the Haitian Health Ministry, over 150,000 people have died and 194,000 are injured.
Over a third of the country’s population of 3,000,000 people have been affected by the earthquake.
There are 150,000 homeless people living on streets, including the thousands who lived in slums or makeshift homes before January 12.
300,000 children, 2 years of age and below, need nutritional support.
90% of the schools in Port-au-Prince have been destroyed .
With nearly half of the Haitian population under the age of 18, children have been significantly affected by the earthquake.
$1,200,000,000 have been pledged internationally, with just under one-third donated by the United States.
Major aid organizations strongly encourage cash donations. Donations of clothes, food, medicine, etc. require space on cargo ships and, therefore, cost time (to sort through the items) and money (shipping costs and labor). In addition, food and medicine donations are often spoiled and expired, potentially do more harm than the intended good.
UNICEF, the United Nation’s Children’s Fund, works with 190 countries. Their primary focus is the welfare of children. Their initiatives include promoting education for girls and narrowing the gender gap, nutrition, hygiene and sanitation, disease prevention, especially HIV/AIDS, and safety.
UNICEF has taken the lead in providing Haitians with sanitary water since water-borne diseases are a major concern. UNICEF, along with other organizations, is addressing the nutritional concerns of the affected children of Haiti. Also as important, UNICEF is ensuring the safety of these children in times when separation from family or even abuse can exacerbate an already traumatizing ordeal. UNICEF has sent 1,000 Early Childhood Development (ECD) Kits to Haiti. These kits provide basic services regarding sanitation, hygiene, nutrition, protection, and education and include a French guideline to these services.
According to the UNICEF Web Site:2
$6 can provide three 10-liter collapsible water containers for transporting and storing water.
$25 can provide two first aid kits with a comprehensive list of items
$60 can provide 20 sheets of tarpaulin, providing simple shelter or ground sheeting for several families.
$200 can provide one recreation kit for 90 children to enjoy physical activity and play in times of emergency or displacement—containing items such as frisbees, jump ropes, footballs, volleyballs, handballs, whistles, a chalkboard and chalk, etc.
$260 can provide “one school in a box” which include the basics to set up a school for 80 students.
Shanghai American School embraces our EAGLES. Empowerment, global-mindedness, and ethical behavior are three of these tenets. We, the SAS community, have an opportunity and obligation to act. The earthquake of January 12 has devastated a nation already in a precarious position. Haiti will long be relying on the donations of others to rebuild their communities and their lives. Therefore, our ongoing support is crucial. And, remember, any donation counts. Look for announcements in the daily bulletin from each campus to see how you can be a part of the solution.
DID YOU KNOW … Haiti derives from an Indian word meaning “mountain”?
1 “Numbers tell stories of horror, heroism in Haiti,” 26 Jan. 2010, <http://www.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/americas/01/26/haiti.by.the.numbers/index.html>
2 “UNICEF and partners provide safe water for Haitian children and families,” 28 Jan. 2010, http://www.unicefusa.org/news/news-from-the-field/unicef-and-partners-provide.html.
By Allan WAGER, Math Teacher, Puxi Campus
A BIG THANK YOU to everyone that was able to come out on Saturday evening for “Drink Up For Haiti.” We teamed up with BEAN charity to pull the fundraiser together in two weeks. We had over 50,000RMB in raffle prizes donated by local business. More than 500 people attended and we raised 63,000 RMB to donate to the Red Cross!!! Thank you for your big hearts and donations.
—Kristina Anderson, ES Counselor, Puxi Campus
OUR HATS ARE OFF TO ALL high school students and teachers for raising over RMB 8,000 today through our Hats for Haiti campaign! All proceeds will be donated to UNICEF to support relief efforts in Haiti. Congratulations and thanks especially to Katrina Mangous’ homeroom class who raised RMB 830 and who enjoyed savory Krispy Kreme donuts on Monday February 1! Thanks also to Jon Nordmeyer for organizing this effort along with Carolyn Bailey’s 4A Psychology class as well as all of you who turned out wearing your hats today to support the people of Haiti as they go forward.
—Tom Burgess, Vice Principal, Pudong Campus
THE SAS PUDONG CAMPUS SIXTH GRADERS had an auction today for “student personal assistants” from 10:30-10:55am. In those 25 minutes they raised over 10,000 RMB for the UNICEF chapter of the Haitian relief fund. See a student-written article about this on page XX. Money will be given to Veronica at the Cashier’s window and deposited into the relevant account. Other activities this week and next include ‘hallway busking’ during lunch. Grand total published next week to all relevant parties.
—Alfred Olivas, MS Science Facilitator, Pudong Campus
PAJAMA DAY: Pudong elementary school raised more that 18,000 RMB by wearing pajamas on Friday, January 29. The students were allowed to wear pajamas to school by donating 10 RMB. Response was strong from both students and faculty.