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FOCUS ON HAITI
Rescue from the Ruins
A small orphanage struggles to survive amid the devastation of post-earthquake Haiti.
Last Modified: 12 Feb 2010 11:52 GMT



Insecurity, exploitation and abuse are a constant presence in the lives of many of Haiti's orphans.

For years the trauma of day-to-day life for Haitian orphans has consumed Barbara Walker. She runs the Ruuska village on the outskirts of Port-au-Prince where she cares for orphaned children as many go through the process of being adopted and sent abroad to their new homes far from the poverty of Haiti.

But this pocket of stability was upended when a devastating magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck on January 12. The compound was damaged and the fragile flow of support and supplies demolished, leaving this small community feeling orphaned.

special report
Special Report: Haiti earthquake
Filmmaker John Goheen spent a week chronicling life at the village immediately after the quake. He followed the camp leaders as they struggled to find supplies and fought to aid, not only the children, but the swelling community of displaced neighbours.

As the post-earthquake crisis has deepened the orphanage has become a refuge for the local community. Locals have set up a small tent city on the grounds, meaning that dwindling supplies must be spread even further and the staff must scramble just to keep things going.

Each day brings a new challenge, whether it is to help Haitians find their missing relatives, to find a stabile home for the children of Ruuska or to deal with increasing insecurity and scarcity of supplies.

There is an almost mad rush for Barbara to get children who have been adopted out of the country. But this has been made more difficult because so many government offices are now in ruins. Barbara personally takes some of the children to their new homes in the US, then immediately returns to Haiti to bring more to safety with their new parents.

The small orphanage has been a life's work for Barbara and her colleagues, but will it now be consumed by the vast sea of debris that imperils so much of Haiti and, if so, what will this mean for the children?

Focus on Haiti: Rescue from the Ruins airs from Thursday, February 11, 2010 at the following times GMT: Thursday: 1930; Friday: 0600, 1630; Saturday: 0300; Sunday: 1030; Monday: 0030

Source:
Al Jazeera
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