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Protect the Children of Haiti

Our website features updates about the situation of our members in Haiti and on 28 January, 2010, the Executive Director of UNICEF, Hilde Johnson, the Haitian Ambassador to the UN, Leo Mérorès, briefed us on the situation of Haiti’s children.

Before the earthquake there were 40,000 orphans (missing both parents) in Haiti.  Since the earthquake, UNICEF and the government estimate there are 380,000 children who are orphans.

In his own extended family, a cousin and his wife had been away at the time of the earthquake. When they returned their house was in rubble and their two children missing. As the rubble was eventually cleared they found only one body so they began to search for their three year old daughter.

Finally they heard of a lady who was taking care of a little girl who might be their daughter and they went to see the lady.

She told them, “After the earthquake this little girl was standing alone on an empty soccer field as if she were waiting for someone to come and pick her up.  I brought her home to take care of her.  Several days ago a man and a woman came in a red car.  The woman told me this was her daughter and she wanted to take her home.

Fortunately the lady asked the girl, “Do your parents have a red car?”  The girl was very clear. “No.” she said, “My family only has a white car.  We don’t have a red car.” So the lady kept the little girl with her.

The Ambassador finished by telling us that there were many traffickers preying on the orphans and that he had heard of whole planeloads of children being taken to Europe.  Many of them were children with legitimate adoption papers but many had no papers at all.

Donating to those already on the ground can help provide resources for the protection of Haiti’s children.  We suggest donations through our religious congregations on the ground, through Catholic Relief Services, or through Maryknoll.