Have we forgotten Haiti?

It’s a story we seem to have let slip into history. Just before 5:00 p.m. local time on Tuesday the 12th of January 2010, two years ago today, a a 7.0 magnitude earthquake hit just outside Port-au-Prince, the capital of the impoverished nation of Haiti. Within the first fortnight after that event, at least 52 major aftershocks had been recorded.

The quake killed around 220 000, injured more than 300 000 and affected 3.5 million people. Even before the quake, 86% of people in Port au Prince were living in slum conditions. Compassion was there and continues to work with the people of Haiti.

While we heard story after story about the tragedy in the weeks immediately following the earthquake, the plight of the Haitian people has already faded from our TV screens and newspapers. The rebuilding isn’t even close to being finished but we’ve already moved on.

Compassion International has been working in Haiti for over forty years so they were one of the first aid agencies to begin helping the people of the affected area. They’re committed to the people of Haiti and they’ll continue to help them in the years and even decades that it will take to return life to what we might consider normal.

Just ten days after the quake I spoke to Tim Glenn from Compassion live from Haiti. You can hear that radio interview by clicking the play button on the audio player at the bottom of this post.

Over the past couple of months I’ve been looking back at my visit to Haiti and Dominican Republic with Compassion Australia in April 2008. That visit is the main reason I’m passionate about taking park in the 25000 Spins Great Ocean Road Challenge. Next month I’ll be riding 290 kilometres in three days and I need your support. By sponsoring my efforts on the challenge you’ll be releasing children from poverty. You’ll be giving children a real chance at life. Please visit my fundraising page and make a contribution. Maybe you can afford to sponsor me for a dollar a kilometre, maybe 50 cents a kilometre, or perhaps you’d just like to donate $10, $20, $50 or any other amount.

The ride isn’t specifically raising money for Haiti but I know that whatever is raised will go to those who need it most right now. Please consider how much you can afford to give.

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Ada Broke My Heart

SantoDomingo.jpgNext month I’ll be cycling to release children from poverty. Today I want to share part of the reason why I’m taking on that challenge.

I’ve interviewed dozens of famous singers, authors, personalities, politicians and celebrities over the years but if I had the chance to choose one moment from my radio career so far that stands high above the others it is the opportunity to tell Ada’s story. I’ll tell you more about that story in a few moments.

Over the past couple of months I’ve been looking back at my visit to Haiti and Dominican Republic with Compassion Australia in April 2008. That visit is the main reason I’m passionate about taking park in the 25000 Spins Great Ocean Road Challenge. Next month I’ll be riding 290 kilometres in three days and I need your support. By sponsoring my efforts on the challenge you’ll be releasing children from poverty. You’ll be giving children a real chance at life. Please visit my fundraising page and make a contribution. Maybe you can afford to sponsor me for a dollar a kilometre, maybe 50 cents a kilometre, or perhaps you’d just like to donate $10, $20, $50 or any other amount.

Ada’s Story

As I mentioned before, telling Ada’s story was a real highlight for me. The story of this young girl will break your heart then give you renewed hope in the difference that each one of us can make in the lives of others.

I beg you to take just fourteen minutes to listen to Ada’s story. I know that for many, setting aside fourteen minutes is too much to ask. If you’re one of the few who takes the time, I guarantee it’ll be worth it.

If you want to hear something to lift your spirits just click play on the audio player at the bottom of this post.

The whole story is worth hearing but I’ll warn you now that it will really start to touch your heart around half way through.

Ada is a girl I met and interviewed in Dominican Republic. She was a beautiful twelve year old with a bright future. I wish I could show you the picture I had taken with the two of us but I prefer to keep her identity somewhat private. You’ll understand why as you listen.

I talked to Ada, I visited her home and talked to her parents. I’m sure that all of us that visited her home on that day will remember the warm hug she gave each one of us as we left. She is a remarkable young girl.

I managed to track down her sponsor in Australia and shared Ada’s story with her. Lisa’s reaction to hearing her sponsored child’s voice is priceless. Hearing Lisa describe how she feels when she hears just how much of an impact she has had on Ada’s life is inspiring.

I don’t know what else I can say but to again beg that you take the time to hear this amazing story. If you do take the time, please let me know.

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Cycling to Release Children from Poverty

Please take the time to watch the video above. In it I tell the story of escaping Port-au-Prince, the capital of Haiti, as rioting escalated and smoke from burning barricades filled the air.

Haiti is just one country where Compassion is working. All over the world, often in difficult circumstances, Compassion is working to release children from poverty. They can only do their job if we’re prepared to get involved.

Having seen first hand, both in Haiti and Dominican Republic, how effective Compassion’s work is, I am determined to do more to help. That’s why from the 12th to the 14th of February 2012 I’ll be taking part in the 25000 Spins Great Ocean Road Challenge.

I’ll be riding 290 kilometres in three days and I need your support. By sponsoring my efforts on the challenge you’ll be releasing children from poverty. You’ll be giving children a real chance at life. Please visit my fundraising page and make a contribution. Maybe you can afford to sponsor me for a dollar a kilometre, maybe 50 cents a kilometre, or perhaps you’d just like to donate $10, $20, $50 or any other amount.

The other thing I’d ask you to do is to spread the video as far and as wide as you can so that it make the biggest impact in releasing children from poverty. Please put it on your blog, share it on Facebook, use the sharing buttons below and do whatever else you can do to help raise much needed funding to support the work of Compassion.

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Pedalling Compassion

In April 2008 I escaped Port-au-Prince, the capital of Haiti, as rioting escalated and smoke from burning barricades filled the air. I was part of a media team travelling with Compassion Australia, there to see their aid work in one of the world’s very poorest nations. We were meant to be there for about a week but were evacuated within 48 hours of arriving due to the rapidly changing situation. Some Haitians had died and many more had been injured. We had been far too close to some of the rioting for comfort.

We had a very difficult journey to the airport and at times we were in very real danger. We finally hooked up with some armed police who escorted us to the airport. We were to fly to Dominican Republic but the flight was cancelled. The airline was not prepared to fly into Haiti. Later that day we finally made it out with another airline.

Haitians were rioting because they had nothing to eat and were unable to provide food for their families. That’s the kind of place that Compassion works.

It Gets Worse

On Tuesday the 12th of January last year a 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck Haiti, killing around 220 000, injuring more than 300 000 and affecting 3.5 million people. Even before the quake, 86% of people in Port au Prince were living in slum conditions. Compassion was there and continues to work with the people of Haiti.

Something Must Be Done

Haiti is just one country where Compassion is working. All over the world, often in difficult circumstances, Compassion is working to release children from poverty. They can only do their job if we’re prepared to get involved. Since that trip to Haiti our family has sponsored a boy from Haiti through Compassion. It’s a small contribution but we know we’re making a difference.

Let’s Ride

Having seen first hand, both in Haiti and Dominican Republic, how effective Compassion’s work is, I am determined to do more to help. That’s why from the 12th to the 14th of February 2012 I’ll be taking part in the 25000 Spins Great Ocean Road Challenge.

I’ll be riding 290 kilometres in three days and I need your support. By sponsoring my efforts on the challenge you’ll be releasing children from poverty. You’ll be giving children a real chance at life. Please visit my fundraising page and make a contribution. Maybe you can afford to sponsor me for a dollar a kilometre, maybe 50 cents a kilometre, or perhaps you’d just like to donate $10, $20, $50 or any other amount.

When I think of all the opportunities I provide for my own children, I can’t sit back without offering the most basic of opportunities to someone else’s child. My parent’s heart won’t allow me to do nothing.

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In My Veins

In April 2008 I escaped Port-au-Prince, the capital of Haiti, as rioting escalated and smoke from burning barricades filled the air. I was part of a media team travelling with Compassion Australia, there to see their aid work in one of the world’s very poorest nations. We were meant to be there for about a week but were evacuated within 48 hours of arriving due to the rapidly changing situation. Some Haitians had died and many more had been injured. We had been far too close to some of the rioting for comfort.

We had a very difficult journey to the airport and at times we were in very real danger. We finally hooked up with some armed police who escorted us to the airport. We were to fly to Dominican Republic but the flight was cancelled. The airline was not prepared to fly into Haiti. Later that day we finally made it out with another airline.

One of the other media representatives on that amazing trip was Aaron Hamilton who left his work in radio after returning to Australia to become Compassion Australia’s National Youth Coordinator. ‘Az’ now travels around Australia talking in schools, churches and youth groups about the changes that young people can make in our world. He passionately believes that the battle against poverty can be won if we only have the will to act.

In My Veins is a youth initiative of Compassion which is making an impact in equipping young people to create a fairer future for those in developing nations. You’ll see a lot more of what Az is doing at the website.

He’s currently in Perth and as part of his visit to Western Australia he dropped in to the studio during my radio programme on 98.5 Sonshine FM. You can hear our conversation and get inspired by the stories of our younger generations by clicking the play button on the audio player below.

(By the way, the photo in this post is Az and myself in Dominican Republic as part of the trip in 2008)

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