2012 – A Monumental year
It’s been great spending some time in the UK over Christmas, giving us the chance to reflect back on the events of 2012, and what a year it’s been! As always, our reflections are mixed with joy, excitement, sadness, and hope for the future.
The start of 2012 was perhaps the most difficult we’d faced, feeling the full pain and injustice of Haiti through the sad loss of Grace, who passed away as a result of her hydrocephalus. It was the consequence of a country left critically under resourced, in a situation which would have been easily avoided and dealt with in the UK. Her life had touched thousands, and her premature death was a stark and harrowing reminder of the fight we’re up against, and the need for greater investment in Haiti. Whilst deeply saddened, the HHA team vowed to use Grace’s life as lasting legacy. A life that represented what can be achieved in Haiti, but also the urgency of what else needs to happen.
3 months later, and significant progress was made! Thanks to the incredible generosity of our supporters, we were able to finally open our Maternity and Paediatric Unit. This was a dream we’d fought for since 2005, and was a particularly memorable and significant step forward after the tragic start of 2012. Since then, Reninca and I have had the daily privilege of walking through those wards and seeing lives literally saved every day. Over 3,500 women, children and babies cared for in the first 6 months. Truly amazing.
Another highlight of 2012 obviously had to be London 2012, as Leon (one of our earthquake patients) was privileged to join the Haitian Paralympic Team, and become one of Haiti’s first paralympic athletes, alongside his team mates Nephtalie and Cajuste. What a few weeks it was, as the crowds cheered on Leon at Brands Hatch, a man who captured the heart of thousands, proving the impossible is possible. A few months after Leon returned from London 2012, and our long term legacy of London 2012 kicked off with the inauguration of our Inclusive Sports Centre, opened by the Head of the UN in Haiti.
And yet, whilst there are some incredible memories of success for 2012, it also proved to be one of the hardest we’d faced. Cholera re-peaked at the end of 2012, from a controlled level of 10-20 cholera inpatients a day at our site through out 2012, to over 150 inpatients on any given day after the severe flooding. This time though, Haiti’s cholera emergency was overlooked, with little international attention. With the media’s eye no longer on Haiti, and the recession in full flow back in Europe, 2012 was perhaps our toughest fundraising year ever. Whilst the continued commitment of the Swiss Paraplegic Foundation, UN, USAID and others allowed some of our projects the critical sustainability needed, others continued to rely solely upon the generous support of individuals and local communities internationally.
2013 will be no different, and again, we’d ask that you continue supporting this critical work! The future of a number of our projects really do rest upon our fundraising efforts internationally. Please join with us, and let 2013 stand for something! Let it leave a lasting legacy as we seek to ‘Bring Hope to Life’ and as one supporter recently said… ‘life to hope.’ Connect with us today, if you’d like to get more involved!