After the Tragedy, Smiles – Thanks to Donors

by Cynthia Price, Director of Communications

In the aftermath of the devastating earthquake in Haiti, a young girl named Kimberly recovers from a crushed leg.

She and many other children are forced to survive in a temporary tent as their parents forage for food and seek jobs. The children have no home and no school to go to. Their toys are gone. And they don’t know where their friends are.

But thanks to ChildFund, CBM and our donors, these children meet daily in tents known as Child Friendly Spaces.

Ron Nabors, CEO of CBM, is visiting ChildFund International offices in Richmond this week to share firsthand the work that the partnership is delivering in Haiti.

“The impact from this disaster is far worse on the child than on the adult,” Nabors says. “What we are doing is giving hope and security to these children and keeping them on track for the future.”

At the Child Friendly Spaces, the children play, learn, laugh and end the day with a smile. “The children can sit together and have some social interaction in a safe place,” he says.

The partnership between ChildFund and CBM is “fairly unusual and exciting,” Nabors relates.

“We’ve set an example for other NGOs to partner together and make a difference for those who really need help,” he told ChildFund employees gathered on Thursday.

He notes that both organizations follow a sustainability model. “We don’t want to just be a charity.”

Smiles break out at a Child Centered Space in Haiti.

That’s why the Child Friendly Spaces are so important. “They provide a safe haven during this awful chaos,” he says.

In addition to providing for children’s daily needs, CBM is maintaining a database of children in need that it shares with Haitian authorities and UN agencies. “We don’t want children to get lost,” Nabors explains.

To date, four Child Friendly Spaces are up and running, serving 450 children. The goal is to have 10 up by year’s end.

The next steps are to transition from recovery to reconstructing lives and enabling the children to return to schools. ChildFund and CBM will continue to partner in this effort.

ChildFund donors have generously donated almost $1.3 million to help children in Haiti. “It scares me to think where these children would be if we [CBM, ChildFund and the donors] had not done what we did,” Nabors says.

But through the partnership and the generosity of donors, positive signs have begun to happen at the Child Friendly Spaces, Nabors says. “Smiles start to creep onto their faces in the midst of all this chaos.”

For more information and to donate, click here.

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