Milwaukee Students Learn About Health in Haiti


Direct Relief staff spoke yesterday with the 8th grade class from Milwaukee Jewish Day School (MJDS) to personally thank them for raising $22,000 to help improve the health and lives of people in Haiti and to update them on Direct Relief’s work in the country.

“It is extraordinary what all of you did. Just heartwarming and inspirational to us,” President and CEO, Thomas Tighe told the students.

As part of the school’s nonprofit affiliate, Voice of the Children, each year the seventh grade class at MJDS learns about child welfare issues in the developing world and then researches and votes on appropriate charitable organizations to receive a donation.

Last year’s class voted for Direct Relief because of its high efficiency ratings and extensive work in Latin America – their region of study last year, said MJDS student, Noah Wolfe.

The now eighth grade class raised $11,000 by selling bracelets, holding bake sales, selling unneeded items online and creating and posting videos online about poverty in Latin America requesting donations. The amount raised was matched by a generous donor.

The students had lots of questions for Tighe and Emergency Response Manager, Andrew MacCalla, ranging from how many hospitals and clinics Direct Relief works with in Haiti to how their donation was spent.

MacCalla explained that Direct Relief has worked in Haiti for four decades and currently partners with about 25 percent of the country’s hospitals and clinics to help people access health care regardless of their ability to pay. Since the earthquake hit in 2010, he said the relief efforts have shifted from immediate response to long-term health care efforts, especially those focusing on improvements in health care for mothers and newborns.

With the introduction of cholera to Haiti, an epidemic recently exacerbated by flooding and rains from Hurricane Sandy, MacCalla said that some of the most needed supplies right now are simple items such as antibiotics and rehydration fluids.

“Because we’ve been able to get so much of this into hospitals that are seeing these patients, the number of patients dying from cholera has gone way down because they got these basic items that they didn’t have enough of before,” said MacCalla.

MacCalla told the students that their actions and advocacy have inspired him to encourage his own son to promote this kind of project when he gets older. “That was an absolutely amazing gesture on your parts. All of us here at Direct Relief are extremely touched and grateful for the work you did to fundraise on behalf of people around the world,” MacCalla said.

Direct Relief sincerely thanks the students at Milwaukee Jewish Day School for caring about those in need around the world.

“(The people in Haiti) know that people in Milwaukee are pulling for them and that counts for a lot in this life,” Tighe told the students.

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