News / Americas

    High-Tech Charity Effort Helps Haitian Quake Survivors

    Clothilde Derosier talks to her family members in Port-au-Prince, Haiti via high definition teleconference at Notre Dame d'Haiti Catholic church in Little Haiti, 7 Apr 2010
    Clothilde Derosier talks to her family members in Port-au-Prince, Haiti via high definition teleconference at Notre Dame d'Haiti Catholic church in Little Haiti, 7 Apr 2010

    Snyder seems like a normal, happy three-year-old. Around his torso is a white plastic brace that he is required to wear as he heals after hours-long surgery for a broken back. He sustained the injury when a block of cement from his home fell on the bed where he was resting during the 7.0 magnitude earthquake that devastated his homeland on January 12. 

    Snyder laughs and plays with two muscular men he considers to be new playmates - after all they've just given him a cap and football to play with. He is playing catch and has no idea these guys are NFL stars: Miami Dolphins football players Jason Ferguson and Reggie Torbor.

    Seated next to him, mom Clothilde Derosier, 25, is grateful for the gifts and thrilled at the opportunity to see and talk to family members she left behind in February, when she was flown out of Haiti to accompany her seriously injured son.  

    In front of her is a huge flat-screen monitor adorned with an HD (high definition) video camera that allows her mom, dad, sister, brother and grandfather to see her too. They are smiling and seem as concerned about how she is living in the United States as she is about their living conditions in the devastated Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince.

    Clothilde's reunion is one of many planned for this week, thanks to a joint effort by the Miami Dolphins Foundation, the University of Miami Global Institute and Project Medishare for Haiti.  Executive producer David Saltz of ABC television says he's worked on this project since the beginning of the year and is thrilled it has accomplished more than he ever imagined.

    David Saltz with Haitian earthquake survivor Nathana Gerome, 13, 7 Apr 2010
    David Saltz with Haitian earthquake survivor Nathana Gerome, 13, 7 Apr 2010

    "Today when Jason Ferguson and Reggie from the Dolphins came down and gave this little three-year-old boy a football, you know, that changed his life. That touched him in a way that we'll never know the impact of that," Saltz said. "Him being lit up like that, wearing his hat, getting signatures from important sports personalities in America - that touched him in a deep way."

    The technology used to reconnect Haitian families was originally designed to help doctors diagnose and communicate with patients over long distances. Quake victims sit in a room at the Notre Dame D'Haiti church in Little Haiti, while family members gather in a similarly equipped room set up at the Project Medishare field hospital facility at a military air base in Port-au-Prince.

    During her 20-minute conversation, Clothilde discussed the whereabouts of her one-year-old son, Youri, whom she left behind and hopes to reunite with soon. She says she's relieved now that she's seen and spoken with her family.

    Clothilde Derosier, 25, with son Snyder, 3, after the teleconference at Notre Dame d'Haiti Catholic church in Little Haiti, 7 Apr 2010
    Clothilde Derosier, 25, with son Snyder, 3, after the teleconference at Notre Dame d'Haiti Catholic church in Little Haiti, 7 Apr 2010

    "I was thrilled to see my father, my uncle, my cousins, my mom, but even though I was happy to see them - since I hadn't since February 1," she said.  "But on the other hand I don't feel good knowing that I'm here where I can eat and drink, I have clothes, shoes, perfume, creams.... everything is taken care of, I'm not sure how much all that costs - meanwhile my family sometimes goes hungry, they have nothing to eat."

    Clothilde's family encouraged her to stay in the United States, get an education, and be successful - perhaps study nursing.  

    "Haiti is not a place now where you can prosper and have the freedoms that you have in America, so for us to be able to open those doors I think has been a great part of the program and we plan to keep it going," Saltz noted. "It's a remarkable experience that uses this technology and this wonderous ability that we've achieved for such great things....You know our whole world now has become so backwards in all the negative things that are promoted through technology - whether it's bad news and disasters like Haiti or it's things that are so unimportant in our world about celebrity news and private relations and affairs - this is something that's so positive."

    Miami Dolphins Jason Ferguson, left, and Reggie Torbor with Haiti earthquake survivor Snyder, 3 in Little Haiti, 7 Apr 2010
    Miami Dolphins Jason Ferguson, left, and Reggie Torbor with Haiti earthquake survivor Snyder, 3 in Little Haiti, 7 Apr 2010

    Dolphins' Ferguson says it meant a lot to him to participate in the reunion.

    "It was amazing to see families getting joined together like that, and knowing you haven't seen your loved ones in so long, and all of a sudden you're provided with a chance to see them and talk to them - I just think that's amazing and just being around them I think it's really touching to see that to see that," he said.

    Torbor echoed that sentiment, adding that it also provided a refreshing contrast to his normal routine.

    "It was humbling. Just in our lives we kind of live in a box so to speak, and you have your issues and things going on and to just come here and see that she [Clothilde] can't find her one-year-old child and hasn't seen her parents and things like that, you know it just makes a soft spot.  But yet to see that they're so happy and so thankful for everything that they have," said Torbor.  "No one over there is sad. All they can talk about is how happy they are for their daughter and that she came to the United States. That's not something you see in our society a lot."

    Executive producer Saltz says each session includes a celebrity appearance.  The inaugural teleconference on Easter Sunday, which reunited a young girl critically injured in the earthquake with her family, featured Prakazrel "Pras" Michel Jean, a member of the Fugees musical group. He travelled to Haiti the following day, according to Saltz to visit the Medishare project.

    Saltz says Sun Life stadium and the Miami Dolphins plan to keep the system available indefinitely for families thanks to the "generous" support of Cisco.

    You May Like

    Turkey, US Splits Deepen Over Support for Kurdish Militants

    Ankara summons American ambassador to protest remarks by State Department spokesman who said Washington does not consider Syria's Kurdish Democracy Union Party (PYD) a terrorist organization

    Obama Seeking $19 Billion for National Cybersecurity

    Move, touted as attempt to build broad, cohesive federal response to cyberthreats, calls for increase in cybersecurity spending across all government agencies

    Video Foreign Policy Weighs Heavy for Some US Voters

    VOA talks to protesters in Manchester, New Hampshire, who sound off on foreign policy issues such as the Guantanamo Bay prison, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the wars in Iraq, Syria and Yemen

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clownsi
    X
    February 09, 2016 8:04 PM
    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
    Video

    Video Foreign Policy Weighs Heavy for Some US Voters

    VOA talks to protesters in Manchester, New Hampshire who sound off on foreign policy issues such as the Guantanamo Bay Prison, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Middle East Affairs and national security.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video New Hampshire Voters Are Independent, Mindful of History

    Once every four years, the northeastern state of New Hampshire becomes the center of the U.S. political universe with its first-in-the-nation presidential primary. What's unusual about New Hampshire is how seriously the voters take their role and the responsibility of being among the first to weigh in on the candidates.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Bhutanese Refugees in New Hampshire Closely Watching Primary Election

    They fled their country and lived in refugee camps in neighboring Nepal for decades before being resettled in the northeastern U.S. state of New Hampshire -- now the focus of the U.S. presidential contest. VOA correspondent Aru Pande spoke with members of the Bhutanese community, including new American citizens, about the campaign and the strong anti-immigrant rhetoric of some of the candidates.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.

    More Americas News

    WFP: 3.6 Million Haitians Face Food Insecurity

    Half of Haiti's population works in agriculture; Around 75 percent live on less than $2 per day

    Video Olympics Technology Center Getting Ready for 2016 Games

    This year, the whole system will be cloud-based, enabling millions of fans around the world instant access to relevant information about the competition

    Red Cross Scales Up Community Action to Combat Zika

    ICRCS is mobilizing its large volunteer force in affected communities to help them clear up trash and areas where mosquitoes can breed

    Haiti's Prime Minister Calls for Peace on 1st Day Without President

    Evans Paul urges Haitian protesters to end weeks of sometimes violent street marches and join a dialogue to create a transitional government

    Social Media Erupts in Support of Sikh Man Barred from Flight

    Waris Ahluwalia says he was barred from boarding a flight from Mexico City to New York because he refused to remove his turban

    Canada Ending Airstrikes in Iraq, Syria

    Canadian PM Trudeau said a campaign of airstrikes is useful for bringing short-term gains, but not for long-term stability