On January 12, 2010, the Caribbean nation of Haiti was devastated after the earth shook. The damage done by the quake is incomprehensible to most of us. The closest we can come to understanding the horrific repercussions of the quake are statistics (230,000 dead, 300,000 injured, 1,000,000 homeless), but statistics alone cannot properly convey the human element of Haiti. I believe that the best way to get a sense of what the nation of Haiti has gone through is to listen to their stories. Some of these stories were tragic, some dramatic, and some hopeful. I want to tell you the story of one little girl who was low on the priority list after Haiti’s horrific quake, but who World of Children was able to help.
2006 World of Children Winner Susie Krabacher was involved in Haiti long before the quake struck. She founded the Mercy and Sharing Foundation, a comprehensive program of orphanages, feeding centers and pediatric medical care which helps many needy children, several with disabilities. After the quake, Susie wrote to us about a little girl named Falee who had been injured. Falee’s right eye had been knocked out of its socket during the quake, and she was in danger of losing sight in the eye and the eye itself if she did not receive medical attention soon. However, medical support in Haiti was strained because of the massive amount of injuries, and since Falee’s injury did not appear to be life-threatening, she was low on the list for medical attention. Our hearts immediately went out to Falee. What if she were our own child or granddaughter, suffering this extreme injury with no one to help her?
Over the last thirteen years World of Children has built a substantial, global network of award winners, many of them in the health-care field. We put out a call for help to many of our past award winners who were already working on the ground in Haiti. Two of them responded, ready to help. One of them was Kathleen Magee of Operation Smile, who had a team aboard the USS Hope, a hospital ship anchored in the Port Au Prince Harbor. Kathleen intervened to ensure Falee’s timely surgery, and thankfully her eye and vision were saved.
We are grateful that we, together with our global network of past award winners, were able to help make Falee’s story, one of millions from Haiti, a hopeful one with a happy ending. We applaud the tenacious spirit of our past award winners as they are truly global heroes who are committed to improving not just statistics, but also improving the lives of individual children in need like Falee.