Haiti after the earthquake
In Haiti, our charity has been working its hardest to provide for children and the extended community. This article, from the beginning of February, highlights how the work of SOS Children can bring hope in the direst of situations:
Soraja Beaujour was a content mother before the quake occurred, "Our simple lives were devastated in a few seconds. We didn't have much, but we had a small house, and we were together. I want to turn back the clock, and get my life back again. The earthquake took everything she had. Her house was destroyed, and her husband and eldest daughter both died. Since then she has been living on the streets with her three sons.
Even before the earthquake many people needed aid. Poverty is an overused word when we talk of children in the UK. Here was the real thing, families just managing to shelter from the weather and eat. Education was poor, with little prospect for improvement. SOS had already set up 16 community centers before the earthquake to try and aid the areas which most needed it.
Then the disaster struck and the human suffering increased beyond belief. Nearly everyone has lost something, most of them are mourning close relatives, and children are sick and malnourished.
"We are still sleeping on the streets. Now at least we have a sheet to cover ourselves, but not much else." Soraja is just one of many who wait every day for the arrival of the SOS bus, and the subsequent food. As soon as the food is distributed, the community cooks together to alleviate their hunger.
"It's about more than just eating for us - we get together. It makes a welcome change that brightens up our everyday lives. After the meal some SOS staff play with the children, and they laugh and dance together. This gives us and the children strength and confidence. We feel that we are not forgotten on the streets, and that someone is there for us.
SOS Children will continually expand across the poorest districts, taking aid directly to the children. It is not just be a case of distributing food parcels; we need to empower communities to help themselves.
Soraja sits at the side while her children sing and dance. Now and then a little smile flashes over her face. These moments give her support and some hope, before she starts looking again for a place to sleep on the streets with her three young sons.