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Shining a light on life in the camps

07 Sep 2010

Life in the camps around Port-au-Prince is tough for those affected by the 12 January Haiti earthquake.

No electricity, no light, nothing to do. Day after day the same routine. We will be doing as much as we can to help older people and their families get back to a sense of a normality.

Providing light and power to those with nothing

HelpAge will be distributing 3,200 Tough Stuff Emergency Kits, which consist of a solar panel, a radio, a LED lamp, a rechargeable battery, and connectors for radio or telephone.

They are self contained and can be transported anywhere. They are also a great alternative to candles and oil lamps.

This will provide light, power and solar energy which can power radios, lights and mobile phones chargers for families who lost everything in the earthquake.

"The news is important to me"

For Hurbain Julien, 81, and his wife Suzanne, 67, (right) the Tough Stuff Emergency Kit will change their lives, breaking up the monotony life of day to day life in camp Carrefour Meilleur.

More entertainment, more news so they know what's happening around the country, a little light in the evening...

"The news on the radio, good or bad, is important to me," said Hurbain.

"I like knowing about what's happening around the country. I have lived in the camp since 12 January. I have a radio which works with batteries, but sometimes I have no money to buy batteries. There is nothing to do In the camp, so we go to bed when the sun goes goes down."

Reaching 75 camps around Port-au-Prince

In two weeks, HelpAge and its four distribution teams will reach more than 75 IDP (internally displaced people) camps. 

Distributions are made in collaboration with the Friends of the camps (who visit and support some of the most vulnerable older people in the camps), and the supervision of the VFP (Vulnerable Focal Point, a kind of area supervisor). We will also make sure that the older people who receive their kits are trained how to use them and look after well.

Sylvanie Louis, 95, (right) lost her house in the earthquake. Since she has been living with her children and grandchildren in a tent in a nearbby camp. She said: "I now have my own radio. My children and I can entertain ourselves with music and light up our shelter at night."

Read more about our work in Haiti

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Claudel Victor
Country: Haiti
Job title: Communications Officer

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These blogs are personal reflections and do not necessarily reflect the views of HelpAge International.