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Soledad arrived in Haiti less than a week after the devastating earthquake struck and immediately began creating the documentary that you're about to see. So without further adieu, please welcome Soledad O'Brien. I'm really grateful to have the opportunity to tell the story you're about to see tonight, which is the story of two remarkable young Haitians. A six-year-old orphan whose name is Cendy Jeune and a wonderful young man whose name is Marc Kenson Olibris who escaped life as a child-slave to live at the Lighthouse Orphanage. It's a documentary about their lives before and then after the earthquake, called "Rescued." And it's as much about their rescue as it is about how these young people will be able to rescue their nation. The biggest challenges were logistic challenges. How do you get through Haiti when there is no infrastructure, when there is literally rubble down in the middle of the roads? How do you tell a story fully and completely when you're there covering the earthquake as well, covering the immediate aftermath, but also trying to shoot a documentary? How do you navigate a story when you don't speak Creole at all? And for me, interviewing people in their own language is so important! All those are things that I think were pretty big challenges that we were able to overcome. There are so many people who have stepped up to help and they helped us every day by telling these stories and they really supported our work as journalist to get it right. The Haitian media is experiencing the same challenges that the Haitian people are experiencing, which is a lack of infrastructure, a lack of food. Trying to do your job in a completely chaotic situation when you don't have a lot of support. They were actually at the same hotel where we were. So there was the Haitian media. So that was a really interesting thing to sort of talk to them about the immediate aftermath of the earthquake. And how they stayed on the air when it came to radio stations and sort of how it has been for them.They were really happy to talk to outside media because they wanted to get their stories out as well. So it was a great experience working with them. I first went in February to see... I think the saddest part is (and Barth can talk about it more) to see how much more entrenched the conditions are becoming and sort of some of the settlements are seeming. Some of the camps seem a little bit more permanent. And people often talk about the resiliency of Haitians and the way they are incredibly resilient. But when you're there sometimes you feel like that resiliency will fail us in some ways because people are able to suffer so much they're sort of, people assume that it's livable. And I think that's what you're starting to see. And that's becoming a kind of strangely kind of normal, these conditions that are just still heart-wrenching. But I was very much inspired by some of the children I saw at the same time, because children being children, there is a kind of spirit to them that 's inspiring. And I kept thinking like: This is really.., this is the future of Haiti. When you look at these children... that we have to do everything we can for them because there's no country without them. Children are still on the streets. But before they had some resemblance of children, now there is none. And there are desperate lines for food. And I have to tell you, international agencies are meeting and they're talking and they're discussing, but nothing is visible. There is not one...the United States spent over a billion dollars, and I haven't seen one visible evidence of anything sustainable or infrastructure. And children are the victims. They're the worse victims because they're helpless. There is also this thing that is fundamentally Haitian and I think that, you know, "tout ti moun se ti moun pa'm," like everybody's child is your child. And this thing too, that I think is also going on and that people are taking in children and they don't get all the attention, but it's sort of what people have always done. And when you have a catastrophe like that, I think it even calls people to rise to the occasion. I have seen so many families, people who don't have anything, you know, but there's always like "m'panse, si de moun ka manje, twa moun ka manje," if we have enough for two, we have enough for three, and that's the mentality that has been stretching now that we have to have enough for a hundred. But people still, if they can they don't turn children away, they don't turn others away if they can manage it. I think that people have to look at the reality before the earthquake, there were a half a million kids in Haiti that had no primary education. So, we operated an hydrocephalus for example and it costs us the same amount to bring one child Miami to operate on, as doing twenty five children in Haiti with excellent care. So I think you've got to use this example. And I think that adopting kids with special needs that in the foreseeable future are not going to be met in Haiti is a reasonable thing. But I think in the investment of that type of system and infrastructure could go into serving huge numbers of kids with education and food and shelter and all the love and tenderness you saw in the movie. And I think this is what it’s all about: we have to give them an opportunity. But, I do think a lot of the people who rescue kids or doctor them or took them out really have the right reasons for doing it. And these kids will grow up strong and educated. And I believe a lot of them are going to back to help rebuild their country. But, I don't think it's the biggest solution, I agree with you, I don’t think it's the right, the big solution. I am the President of the center: L'ATHLETIQUE D'HAITI. It's a training center, a development center for youth for children from 6 to 19 years old. We are in Cité Soleil, Drouillard and we have 3 more centers in Jeremie, Simonec, and L'Artibonite. I have been doing this for 15 years. This is what I do. I run after school programs for empoverished children. They come after school to do sports, to play soccer, basket ball, athleticism, ping pong, karate, kick boxing. We give them all the materials.We provide a nurtured environment. And the children fully developed themselves. Our situation now is that since we need the field to be able to serve the kids--that's what has been our force, moral force, to be able to negotiate with the campers and try to negotiate with them to see how they can allow the free space to come. Like I said, it's a microcosm of a huge situation. And one of the things that we see is that the movement of getting into free land, free space, isn't abated. You can come one day, you find this free space and the next day, you see people starting... And it's not a hostile takeover--I'd like to say that. I just think it's out of sheer psychological, real necessity that people try to go out and try to find a new solution for themselves. I think that's one of the things that I wish I could convey to the public or whoever is willing to listen. This is a real situation. But what's really needed now is two things medically: one is, we have to give Haitian doctors and nurses, we have to empower them. They have no clinics. They have no hospitals. They have no resources. And all four of the medical schools out of the five were down. All of the students and professors were killed. The nursing school, they're dead, the teachers, everybody. So what we need to do from a medical standpoint is create infrastructure. We have to put up major educational structures and bring these kids back to school. Some of the medical students we'd like to bring up to Miami or Montreal or places where Creole is spoken and French. And continue their education while we're rebuilding the medical and nursing schools. We're going to use telly medicine. Dr. Ginsburg in the audience is an expert. We can teach huge numbers of doctors and nurses and train people all over Haiti from a classroom in Miami or elsewhere. And we actually have a program, a telly medicine program, if there's one camp with 30,000 people in it, we're going to be able to render medical decisions, opinions, and treatment from Miami. My group is focused on critical care. There are five things that everybody dies from no matter how rich you are, how poor you are: heart attack, stroke, major trauma, burns, and maternal emergencies. It doesn't matter who you are, you die by the time an ambulance plane comes, if you can afford it. So we're committed to creating a national system of critical care, trauma, and disaster response. I believe the solution should start out with a big word called "transparency." I think that people that want to work in Haiti and want to be part of the solution need to be totally transparent. And a square foot of a school or a hospital has to be twenty dollars. It has to be earthquake proof and hurricane proof and wind proof. It has to fit design and standards. And it has to really be part of a strategic plan. And I think right now the problem is, there's nobody in this room that wouldn't empty their pocket right now to help Haiti. If there's nobody leading the way and telling them how to do it. The Americans and the international community insult the Haitians. They say "you're stupid, you're corrupt, you don't know what you're doing. And we're going to tell what to do and how to do it. And we're going to tell you what percentage of this money should go for medical. 4%" Well that's a couple hundred million dollars. That's a joke. I mean there's not one hospital standing in Haiti. Ours' is in a tent. And there's no clinic standing. There's no infrastructure. So I think we have to have a solution that's transparent and people are being honest. The profits are limited. If you want to make a reasonable profit, then you finish what you start on time and you get paid. If you don't, there's a penalty. That doesn't exist now. I think those type of principles have to lead the reconstruction. And we have to hear what Haiti wants to do, not what we think they should do. And I think that's going to change and that's the kind of change we're ready to make. (Applause)

Video Details

Duration: 11 minutes and 28 seconds
Year: 2010
Country: United States
Language: English
Director: Tod Landess, Head of Production
Views: 117
Posted by: koze on Jul 20, 2010

Rescued is a documentary about the Children of Haiti. This video highlights the première of Rescued, sponsored by FIAC, which was viewed at the University of Miami on Tuesday May 4. A panel discussion, facilitated by CNN Reporter Soledad O'Brien, was held afterwords with prominent community and world leaders such as: Edwidge Danticat, Haitian-American Author; Cheryl Little, Executive Director of Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center (FIAC); Barth Green, Founder of Medishare Project; and Bobby Duval, Founder of L'Athletique d'Haiti. A team of KozeAyiti composed of UM faculty, employees, students, and volunteers covered the event.

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