PORT-AU-PRINCE, HAITI — The devastation from the January 2010 Haiti earthquake has long left the headlines, but the problems still linger. Some school children from South Florida have worked diligently to get their counter parts across the Caribbean back on their feet.
For the past five years, fifteen-year-old Ereka Jean has lived at a Port-Au-Prince orphanage. She has longed to attend school, but without a pair of shoes, her hopes were dashed.
Then, boxes filled with 350 pairs of shoes were delivered and passed out at her orphanage.
“This makes me so happy because I didn’t go to school,” said Jean. “Now I received things for my feet and I’m going to ask God to always help me.”
The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) reports that nearly a half a million Haitian children are orphaned.
UNICEF findings indicate twenty percent will never go to school.
Along with uniforms and books, the lack of shoes for children in Haiti is one of the things badly needed to start school.
Students at St. Mark Episcopal School in Palm Beach Gardens gathered the shoes after receiving an email from a CBS12 employee that was planning to travel to Haiti.
Such delivery was made to the delight of those at the orphanage.
Eyanette Desamours is the orphanages director. “This helps a lot. School started and the kids need shoes to go. This helps a lot.”
Desamours said Haitian law dictates kids who cannot take care of themselves will have to stay in the orphanage even beyond reaching adult age.
Without an education, Desamours says being able to take care of themselves is even more difficult.
Nadia Major also lives at the orphanage. She says, “food and school” is all she wants. She adds, “I would ask God to help me more as well as all the kids in the orphanage.”
“This makes me happy a lot,” said Jean. “When I need something, you guys come and bring it.”
CBS 12 employees also donated dozens of shoes as part of the care package sent to Haiti as gifts.