15 January 2010

Helping Haiti

The images of Haiti after the country’s worst natural disaster are incomprehensible. Fortunately, Hôpital Albert Schweitzer Haiti (HAS), located on a former banana plantation in Artibonite Valley northwest of Port-au-Prince, was left unscathed and now is beyond capacity with wounded survivors.

HAS has a direct relationship to Pittsburgh: a legacy of Larry and Gwen Mellon, it has become a model for healthcare in impoverished countries. HAS’ office for development and financing is managed in Pittsburgh. A Post-Gazette writer published a book about the Mellon's inspirational story, and Gwen Mellon eventually wrote an autobiography in her later years. A blog about HAS’ triage efforts was started this week.

The Friends of HAS, located on Reynolds St. in Point Breeze, "expands awareness of the culture and art of the Haitian people and of their need for health services, economic development and improved environmental conditions... and implements projects in support of Hôpital Albert Schweitzer's mission." See the collection of beautiful paintings and objects by Haitian artists through their online gallery.

Friends of HAS is collecting donations to help with relief efforts for the hospital. Other local charities accepting donations for earthquake victims are listed here.

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