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Haiti: The amazing children of Leogane

We’ve been working with a group of kids from Leogane this week, running workshops and teaching them how to make their own films about their own lives. Leogane was the epicentre of the 10 January earthquake. Everyone we’ve been working with – both staff and children – is living in tents and makeshift temporary shelters.

We recruited our group from one of the 12 child friendly spaces, which Save the Children runs in Leogane. They’re amazing places where children come to learn, play, sing and dance in a safe environment. In the short time since set-up, they’ve become the centres of communities all over town.  They represent little oases of joy among the vast tented sites where the townsfolk have erected their new improvised homes.

As if losing their homes is not difficult enough, the children we’re working with have all lost family and friends too, in the most tragic of circumstances. Olwine is 13 years old. Her best friend died in her house when it collapsed. Nenel (17), lost 2 sisters and his little brother the same way. These stories are almost standard in Leogane.

I can’t imagine how angry I would be if this had happened to me; if I’d been made homeless, lost all my belongings, and had to live cramped up with all my surviving extended family under bed-sheets and aid agency tarpaulins in the blistering sun. Yet the children show up everyday with beaming smiles, bundles of energy and enthusiasm and hungry to learn. They are truly amazing.

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