Last issue, we covered Dr. Ian Armstrong’s and Transformational Development Agency’s return to the Haitian people, whose lives had been forever changed from January’s earthquake. What they found was a different situation. Shock had been replaced by the grim realization that this was their new reality. The limbless and the homeless faced the wet, rainy season with living conditions that were most definitely a long-term health hazard.
New Life Orphanage
Since Dr. Ian’s last reconnaissance trip, New Life Orphanage (Port-au-Prince), which had been severely damaged by the earthquake, was an urgent priority. Without parents, the children there were already facing severe odds in their early lives, so investing in their security and well-being pressed deeply on Dr. Ian’s heart. The boys had been sleeping in wet tents on muddy, sodden ground. Getting their dormitory fixed was a top priority.
Upon his return, Dr. Ian went to San Diego for a research meeting with Nuvasive, a medical company that develops creative spine technology. Without hesitation, three leaders from the company, Pat Miles, Keith Valentine and Alex Lukianov, offered immediate financial support for the orphanage. Their generosity has enabled the rebuild of the boys dorm before the heavy rains come; reconstruction of the important protective wall around the children; and food on the table for the children during this difficult time. This act of generosity changed the lives of 115 children in ways that is hard for us living in the United States to understand.
Dr. Ian explains, “Haiti has touched so many people’s hearts…. What the leaders of this medical spine company showed by their generous donation is that their core values as corporate leaders genuinely are about helping their fellow man. It is so good to see that spirit in corporate America. Frankly, it is these individual and personal efforts that are driving this relief effort.”
Next Steps for New Life Orphanage
“Together with TDA, Dave De Vos and Vince Daly, our plan is to return to Haiti in the last week of June to oversee the on-going construction and to continue assessing and planning further projects at the orphanage. Vince Daly is President and Founder of the Daly Group (dalygroupinc.com) – which is a locally-based business, which, since the late 1980s has specialized in complex strategies for real estate and land development as well as financial feasibility and investor relations. Vince is a seasoned Real Estate Developer and he’s thrown in his considerable resources to help plan the rebuild of the orphanage. Here we’re talking about the most cost-effective, advanced construction that is environmentally conscious, green and sustainable. The end result will be an orphanage that will be an efficient blueprint for others to follow. Vince has teamed up with one of his fellow businessmen, Bill Camarillo, who is the CEO of one of the largest organic recyclers in the State of California – Agromin Premium Soil Products. His expertise will insure that New Life Orphanage is sustainable with optimal use of environmentally-friendly, advanced technology. We will be working towards installing sustainable solar power to meet some of the power and energy needs of the orphanage. This would be a great improvement over the current unreliable, inefficient and environmentally unsound diesel generators that are currently in place. We are hoping to get further community support to accomplish this.”
“I’m keenly aware of how modern technology can eliminate the MISSING LINK, the disconnection that donors often feel towards their charitable cause. Through technology, we can bring about so many positive changes. Let’s face it, when you are giving money to a charitable cause far away, you really aren’t all that sure if the money is being used exactly where you had intended it. The old-fashioned days of charities sending postcards of children in Africa can be vastly improved upon.
We plan to create a web presence to include use of Face Book, YouTube, Video Blogs and a webcam so that the donors can watch what’s going on in the orphanage and actually meet the children. That way people can watch a living, breathing documentary of the good work that’s being achieved. This can be a blueprint for other charitable organizations. They can look at our structure and use of technology to engender loyalty and on- going interest with their donors and constituents.
For that reason, we’re taking on our next trip Spencer Daly and Chad Smathers. Spencer is currently a film student at LMU Film School, and is active in film as well as in humanitarian work. He hopes to bring his film knowledge and experience to our Haitian project. Chad Smathers, an actor in Los Angeles, has been actively involved in documentary films as a writer and director. He has also done extensive humanitarian work. What they’ll help us do is install computers and cameras so that donors and fans have a real-time link to progress and problems at the orphanage. They’ll also create an on-going documentary. Additionally, David de Vos, a well-known film maker who has already made an award-winning film on the relief efforts in Haiti – Haitian Hearts – will also be contributing to this project (devisebtertainment.com)
Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem have been quietly supporting the overall relief effort for Haiti in an amazing and significant manner. One simple act of generosity was to go out and buy beautiful clothes for the children – as well as other basic necessities . Wouldn’t it be great if – when the children receive their new clothes – Penelope, or any other generous person, can actually view the joy on these little children’s faces as they see their gifts. It can be so easily done with 2010 technology.
1) SCHOOL: Immediate rebuild and repair of the school – which has been non-existent since the earthquake.
2) EXTENDED CARE NURSING FACILITY at New Life Orphanage. Dr. Ian will be monitoring the children’s rehabilitation – whether it’s the fitting on of a new prosthesis, or helping them learn how to walk again. Getting supplies from local hospitals for their rehabilitation is crucial. Dr. Scott Blatt, D.C. of Body Logic, Westlake Village will help over-see some of the rehab needs as well as potentially developing a sports program for the children of the orphanage.
Furthermore, TDA has recruited and sponsored a qualified nurse to be at the orphanage so that medical care can continue to be administered to the children.
3) LIFE SKILLS TEACHING: Farming: High-Tech Farming at Orphanage: The plan is to teach the children how to live in a sustainable manner. Through the orphanage they are currently learning how to grow their own vegetables and how to farm fish. The expansion of the training and education component via connections with businessmen and successful farmers in The Dominican Republic is proving to be invaluable long-term. John Moller is an expert at high-tech farming and brings to the children in the orphanage a vast resource basis from which they can learn.
TDA , Ayoade Alakija and Rikki Alakija have years of experience with this type of relief work around the world continue to be an important, guiding force in this project.