Director/ co-ordinator of the HaiT&T Foundation Dr Paula Henry says 92 pieces of authentic Haitian art will be on display at Fine Art Gallery, corner Warren and Rosalino streets, Woodbrook on Wednesday.
The exhibition is expected to contribute to the overall $16 million which will be used to rebuild the La Madeleine Orphanage.
The building was destroyed when the devastating 7.0 earthquake struck its capital Port-au-Prince. The fateful day (January 10, 2010), exacerbated the poverty plaguing Haiti, labelled the “poorest nation in the Western hemisphere”.
The new venue for the care home is Morne Cabrit, an hour north of Port-au-Prince.
Apart from La Madeleine’s destruction, European Union (EU) statistics said the epic tragedy claimed roughly about 300, 000 lives, 70,000 bodies recovered, 250,000 injured and 1.5 million were rendered homeless. Initially, Dr Henry took a medical team to help with provision of medicines, counselling and torniquets. But she felt compelled to go a step further and build a care home. It is expected to cater to 600 children from pre-school to Grade Nine.
The work is being undertaken in collaboration with the Sisters (nuns) of Cluny from Haiti and Ireland, Mission Cara, Trocare (which contributed US$78,000). and the Digicel Founation.
Locally, Henry and HAIT&T Foundation is being assisted by director Annette Awuku and Sister Mary Jean Ayow.
Interviewed about Wednesday’s art exhibition, Henry said: “Large numbers of children were left homeless after the earthquake. Others who survived found themselves living in unhygienic and unsanitary conditions. Parents had no money for food. Since they lacked financial security, it opened up the children to abuse from ‘misdirected adults’ in the community.”
Henry added: “Twenty classrooms and the walls are being plastered.
We have to thank the Digicel Foundation. Digicel Foundation will be putting in infrastructure. We will have eight caregivers, a laundry and a technical block. We have to include a steady supply of electricity.”
Sharing information on the curriculum, Henry said it will be multi-faceted.
Henry said: “The curriculum will focus on academics. Those who excel will be given an opportunity to attend high school and pursue tertiary education. The technical school will focus on life skills, arts, crafts and hair dressing for the girls. There will be woodwork and masonry for the boys. There will be a sports’ field for athletes. The 62 nuns will focus on their spiritual development and run the facility.”
Another initiative will be a hatchery which will enable the children to develop their business acumen.
Henry said: “There is a long term agreement for a chicken hatchery.
The children will be selling chickens and eggs to the communities. It is about encouraging innovation. The focus will be on growing crops.”
Henry said the care home will be built on a solid foundation and based on international standards to withstand any further earthquakes.
“The staff and children’s safety is of paramount importance,” Henry said.
Asked about Haiti’s holistic rebuilding process, Henry said: “It is taking off. We are teaching them (pupils) how to drill wells. That’s the difference with this project. We are teaching them (pupils) how to resourceful in a consistent manner. Tourism is one aspect where Haiti can bring in foreign investors. Haiti has beautiful beaches. The people are proud, beautiful and talented. They have beautiful mountains.”
Asked about her humanitarian interest in Haiti, Henry said: “I feel they are my Caricom brothers and sisters. I want to do everything I can to help.”
Haitian art consists of seascapes, flowers, portraits, landcapes and market scenes. Original art Starting at $600. and moving to $6,000.
Venue: Corner of Warren and Rosalino Streets
email: gallery @fineartcaribbean.com
Time: July 2 to 12
6.30 pm to 8.30 pm
People wishing to assist HAIT&T Foundation
e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com