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

Elusive Deal With Iran Could Yield Foreign Policy Legacy for Obama

A new Iranian leader -- and a strategic shift by the United States -- opens narrow window for nuclear agreement with Tehran More

Column: Saudi-Iran Meeting Could Boost Fight Against Islamic State

The fact that Iranians and Saudis are talking again does not guarantee a breakthrough, but it could make it easier to build a broad coalition against IS More

Thai Ruler Gives Top Cabinet Posts to Junta Inner Circle

Thailand's army chief has kept an iron grip on power as he extends the government, hand-picking an interim parliament that subsequently nominated him prime minister More

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.
West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015i
X
Carol Pearson
August 30, 2014 7:14 PM
A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.

AppleAndroid

More Americas News

Nicaragua Rescuers Save 20 Miners; Search Continues

Wall of mud, rocks trap miners at El Comal site in Bonanza, 420 kilometers northeast of Managua
More

Shortage-weary Venezuelans Scoff at Fingerprinting Plan

Proposal on food sales sparks backlash ranging from violent street protests to social media campaigns ridiculing the idea
More

Rescuers Contact 20 Miners Trapped in Nicaragua Gold Mine

Two miners have been rescued, others are believed to be alive
More

Brazil Enters Recession in Pre-election Blow to Rousseff

Experts say left-leaning policies have dented consumer and business confidence and caused heavy losses for financial investors
More

Peru Drug Bust Seizes Record 6.5 Tons of Cocaine

Police arrest 7 Peruvians, 2 Mexicans suspected of trying to smuggle load to Europe as coal
More

New Brazil Poll Shows Silva Beating Rousseff in Runoff

Outcome seemed unimaginable just a few weeks ago; would put an end to 12 years of Workers' Party rule
More