According to the New York Times, the cholera epidemic in Haiti is now in its fourth year and has killed more than 8,300 people. More than 650,000 have taken ill. It appears possible that this epidemic may have been introduced by a group of "peacekeepers" from another country whose human wastes were allowed to flow, untreated, into the stream from which many Haitians get their drinking water. As tragic as it continues to be, it brings to light the continuing problem faced by Haitians every day -- even basic necessities such as water can be life-threatening.
This year's World of Children® Award Alumni Award winner is Susie Krabacher. We first honored Susie in 2006 with a Humanitarian Award because of her determination to overcome both human and manmade disasters in Haiti with her organization Mercy & Sharing. We are honoring her again because even though everything she had worked for was destroyed by the 2010 earthquake and most of her staff was injured, traumatized and lost loved ones in the quake, Susie did not give up... in fact she has not only persevered, she has come back even stronger.
Following her own credo that she has instilled in the children and families she served in Haiti to not be "dependent" but to be "independent," Susie took control of her situation and in three short years she has rebuilt almost everything, while many of the larger organizations are still struggling with the bureaucracy of getting things done in Haiti. In spite of all the odds, today Susie and her team are feeding 2,000 children a day, providing medical attention daily to hundreds of children, providing uniforms and schooling for 1,100 children daily and housing and caring for hundreds of abandoned children.
Thankfully, the cholera epidemic has been less of a problem for the children of Mercy & Sharing Village, which is located on 17 acres nearly 30 miles northwest of Port-au-Prince in large part because Susie and her team planned and installed two water wells that contain a 10,000 gallon per day water filtration system. The water can be used by the children and the 150 families in the surrounding community.
When Susie is not in Haiti, she is travelling throughout the United States spreading awareness and generating support for Mercy & Sharing.
Clean water is something we take for granted as Americans. Luckily for the children of Mercy & Sharing, Susie Krabacher has given them one less thing to worry about. Hopefully others can follow the example set by this wonderful organization and find a way to clean up the devastating situation and provide for the future.