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Sierra Leoneans Support Victims of Haiti Earthquake

Haitian woman is covered in rubble in Port-au-Prince, 12 Jan 2010
Haitian woman is covered in rubble in Port-au-Prince, 12 Jan 2010

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Six weeks after an earthquake devastated Haiti's capital, Port-au-Prince, Sierra Leoneans have come together to contribute to recovery efforts.

Popular Sierra Leonean musician and producer, Jimmy B, wrote a song for Haiti.  He performed it at a benefit concert held in Freetown recently to raise money for relief efforts in the Caribbean island nation.

Sierra Leone is one of the poorest countries in the world.  But Naasu Fofanah, organizer of the Haiti benefit concert, says that is no excuse.

"We organized this benefit concert, the first reason is for the Haitian people to know that regardless of the fact that we stand alongside them on the human development index, that is not an excuse, poverty is not an excuse for us not to empathize with their situation," Fofana said.

Twenty Sierra Leonean artists performed for free, including popular political rapper Emmerson and the Liberian songstress Miatta Fambuleh.  The U.N. Peacebuilding Mission donated logistical support for the event.

Even though tickets cost less than three dollars, the concert has raised a total of $8,500 and donations are still coming in thanks to a text message service that allows people to donate mobile phone credit to the cause.

The money will go to support two Haitian organizations working on relief efforts.

The non-profit organization, One Dome At A Time, set up by Haitian-born rapper Won-G builds low-cost earthquake and hurricane-resistant homes in Haiti.

The other recipient is Lamp for Haiti, an organization providing basic healthcare and humanitarian aid in one of the poorest neighborhoods in Port-au-Prince.

On January 20, Sierra Leone's president Ernest Bai Koroma sent $100,000 to Haiti for victims of the earthquake.

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