Nicholas School Students Respond to Ongoing Haitian Crisis

February 9, 2010
Contact:

Joshua Strauss, (949) 233-1501, joshua.strauss@gmail.com

DURHAM, N.C. – In an effort to promote continued awareness of the ongoing Haitian needs and to raise funds for Partners in Health (PIH), graduate students at the Nicholas School of the Environment are holding a four-day fundraiser beginning Monday, Feb.15.

PIH is a Boston-based nonprofit, co-founded by Duke alumnus, Dr. Paul Farmer. It has been operating on the ground in Haiti for more than 20 years, providing healthcare to some of the poorest people in the world. The organization built and runs Zanmi Lasante, a hospital located in Cange in the Central Plateau region of Haiti. It is one of the largest nongovernmental health care facilities in Haiti.

According to first-year Master of Environmental Management student, Joshua Strauss, one of the fundraiser’s co-organizers, Zanmi Lasante has a proven track record of efficient use of donated funds. Its philosophy of maintaining close communication and coordination with the Haitian Ministry of Health “reflects the (type of) investment in local infrastructure that many Nicholas School courses present as a critical component to sustainable operations,” Strauss says.

The fundraiser has three components.

Students will staff an information booth in Hug Commons, located in the Levine Science Research Center (LSRC) A-Wing, all four days, to distribute pamphlets about Haiti, the earthquake, and PIH. They’ll help visitors write letters in Haitian Creole to children orphaned or injured by the earthquake. The letters will be hand delivered to children through UNICEF’s on-site Haiti relief office.

Visitors to the information booth can purchase Haitian relief ribbons to help support aid efforts and raise awareness of Haiti’s crisis.

On Thursday, Feb. 18, freelance photographer Will Watson, will present “Feeding Haiti’s Children through Zanmi Agrikol: A Partners in Health Agricultural Initiative.” The hour-long presentation and discussion will start at 5 p.m. in LSRC’s Love Auditorium. .

The four-day fundraiser will culminate at 7 p.m. Thursday with live music, a Haitian photo exhibit and sales of Haitian-sourced coffee at the Copa Vida Coffee House, located at 2816 Erwin Rd., in Durham.

One hundred percent of the sales will go to PIH. Donations are encouraged. The event is jointly sponsored by Copa Vida Coffee Shop, Barrington Coffee Roasting Company, and the Nicholas School of the Environment.