An Hour for Haiti

Our thoughts are with the people of Haiti at this time. A few days ago, the Award Office received an email through the IBBY (International Board of Books for Young People) network, which really throws their needs into focus. Please take the time to read about Children in Crisis in Haiti below – and join us in sending a contribution to the network if you can. 

Through the Children in Crisis fund, IBBY have been working in Haiti since January 2009: trying to give children better access to books, reading and other things to improve their quality of life. When Jocelyne Troulit, who manages Children in Crisis in Haiti went missing after the recent events, we all waited with baited breath. However – Jocelyne was one of the lucky ones. Her e-mail, sent last week, serves to remind us of the need of Haitian children.

The Universite Caraibe and most universities in Port au Prince are completely destroyed. Most schools too.  Thousands of school children and university students are under those buildings.  Many cadavers have been removed from the streets by the state today.  We have survivors.  Thousands of houses have collapsed.  Rich and poor have lost families and houses.  I cannot describe the horrors.

I have seen so many corpses today, many of my own students are dead or injured, I don’t want to describe it.

I hope to be able to coordinate some help next week.  For now, we have to bury the dead.  The children of Haiti will need some psychological help and bibliotherapy will certainly bring some healing to them.  Schools will not reopen until September or October.  The buildings and the teachers are not there.   We will have to find other places, many churches have also been destroyed.

Thank you again for your support.

Most of the IBBY books that were in storage at the Universite or at the schools have been destroyed.  I asked today if I could find them in the debris, but I understood the people were more concerned about the corpses that started to smell and to find some survivors.

We stay positive, but for most of us we will need strong will power.

 IBBY Haiti: Jocelyne Troulit, Port au Prince, Haiti, 16 January 2010

The employees of the Swedish Arts Council have started a collection for Children in Crisis, with employees giving the equivalent of one hours wages to the fund. Please join us in trying to send some small measure of help and relief to the children of Haiti.

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