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Guernsey aid workers return from helping Haiti families
Children in Haiti
The small aid operation is supporting 20 families outside the capital

At the end of January 2010 three people from Guernsey left for Haiti to help the survivors of a powerful earthquake.

They had no plan, and were unsure of what aid they would be able to provide.

Sarah Griffith, the founder of the Guernsey-based charity Bridge 2 Sri Lanka, said she felt compelled to go after hearing about the devastation.

She was joined by Dave Matheson and Josh Le Moignan, who both run bars in St Peter Port, and ended up supporting 20 families.

Haiti family
Since the earthquake many buildings are unsafe and tents provide shelter

The group left for Haiti on 26 January and found a small community of 156 people living in a town outside the capital, Port-au-Prince.

"We decided that this was something containable that we could work with."

Sarah explained they were always aiming for a smaller community, since they did not have the resources to offer effective help to the thousands in the large, tented camps.

The survivors in Haiti have been forced to live in anything they can piece together according to Sarah, "mostly sheets, perhaps a bit of wood".

When Sarah spotted some Shelterboxes earlier during the trip, she said "that's it, that's what we're gonna do".

Josh Le Moignan
Josh took time out from working behind the bar to travel to Haiti

The boxes contain everything essential for survival for 10 people, including tents, sleeping bags, and cooking equipment.

The trio travelled to the UN compound but there was some doubt as to whether they would be successful.

They were aware of the problems in distributing aid.

But Sarah's persuasion skills got them 20 Shelterboxes to distribute.

The tents were put up on Saturday 30 January and now house the community, including a woman who gave birth to twin babies at 1300 on the day of the earthquake.

Sarah said they would go back and carry on helping and focus on that group and a group of 40 families next door.

"The next thing is a temporary school for the children", she said. "It's not about saving the world - if you can make a difference to one person - we can make a difference to 56 people, is that not enough?"




SEE ALSO
Charity praises island's efforts
29 Jan 10 |  Guernsey
College raises funding for Haiti
28 Jan 10 |  Religion & Ethics
Guernsey pledges 50,000 to Haiti
15 Jan 10 |  Guernsey

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