I just wanted to share with you some great communication outputs that AARP have developed of our ongoing work in Haiti to help older people affected by the 2010 earthquake. The content is from a trip to Haiti at the end of February this year, which I had the pleasure of being part of. Tom Wright, CEO of Age UK, joined Barry Rand, CEO of AARP, myself and a very senior team from AARP and AARP Foundation.
During our three days in Haiti, we visited communities where HelpAge has worked with older people ever since the terrible earthquake. As with the Philippines late last year, the majority of the funds raised in the immediate aftermath of the emergency came from Age UK (including through their DEC membership) and from AARP and their Foundation. So it was truly an honour to go with Barry and Tom to see what a difference the generosity of their organisations, members and supporters had made there.
It’s a great example of the positive energy that the HelpAge network can create at times of tragedy and acute humanitarian need. We were able to immediately link members and resources from some of our largest Affiliates — Age UK and AARP — with smaller Affiliates, such as the Haitian Society for the Blind (SHAA), older people’s associations and small local partners at ground level, who know their communities and older people so well, who can deliver relief and organise the older members of the community so effectively.
This article by Soledad O’ Brien (a US journalist and broadcaster) highlights how the work is still making a huge difference for older people in Haiti. Linked to the article is a brilliant five-minutes video which I strongly encourage you to watch. In another great piece, Barry Rand gives a very personal account of the visit from his perspective. This, you must see.
Finally, there are four separate videos looking at different themes of our work in Haiti, which I am sure you will find both touching and informative:
I hope you’ll enjoy reading and viewing these great testimonies of our work as much as I did. I would like to repeat my thanks both to our visitors from AARP and Age UK. Particularly, I would like thank our incredible staff, partners and the older men and women we work with, whose work is so beautifully showcased here.
This was a very special visit for all of us, but particularly for AARP CEO, Barry Rand, who announced last month that he is stepping down as CEO of AARP at the end of August. We are so glad that Barry visited Haiti before he left, and saw first-hand the value of his organisation and its members extending that helping hand to older Haitians.
Having travelled with Barry and Tom, and seeing Barry talking here about his reflections and emotions about what he saw, I have an even stronger sense that one of the most important things that we need to nurture within the HelpAge network is strengthening that sense and potential of a single «moral community» by linking older people affected by disasters and conflict with older people with a desire, and in a position, to help. Such communities form and operate very quickly at times of acute need, where empathy is keenest, and connections are most strongly felt.
What I think Barry communicates so very effectively, is that there is a natural community out there, made up of seniors willing and able to give other seniors a helping hand — either at a global level and facilitated by a network like the HelpAge network, or at the community level, with the «friends network» that struck him so powerfully on his visit.
1-6 Tavistock Square
London WC1H 9NA