Books to help children in Haiti
Revision update: Almost done! Well, I’m about three quarters through. Maybe I can be done by the end of next week. Fingers crossed.
The images coming out of Haiti this past week have been sobering to say the least. Seeing the damage caused by a natural disaster like this makes us feel small and helpless. But that’s when the human spirit is at its best. Corporations are pledging millions in rebuilding donations. I read that George Clooney has signed up to host a telethon. And Facebook users are spreading the word about giving to organizations that are helping the people there.
Part of the problem in Haiti is the extreme poverty. I first learned about the situation there a few years ago when I was introduced to Mary’s Meals, an amazing organization that provides school meals to children in some of the poorest places around the world, including Haiti. The wonderful thing about Mary’s Meals is that they don’t just give food to families there, the organization gives school meals, so a child has to be in school to get the food. This gives families an incentive to send their children to school — which is also provided free — and the meals not only help the children stay healthy, they give the children an education, so that when those children grow up, they can help their entire community. It’s the old “teach a man to fish…” idea, and Mary’s Meals is making an enormous difference in these areas of the world.
Of course, a big part of the education these children get is through books. Yay, books! 🙂
Another organization is promoting the use of books and storytelling for psychological therapy. The International Board of Books for Young People’s Children in Crisis program started in Haiti last July. The program trains people in bibliotherapy, which uses reading to help children assimilate the difficulties they see in the world around them. Now, I imagine, Children in Crisis: Haiti will be very much needed.
Stories have been a way for children — and adults — to learn about their world since the cavemen were painting on walls. They will never go away, and they will always be needed.
Keep writing. Keep telling stories. And when you do, think about the children who could benefit, the ones who could change the world in the future.
And if you can, donate money, time or whatever you can to these organizations or others, not just for Haiti, but for the world.