The Healing Power of Hands, both Small and Large
Children use their Penny Power to send Solar Lights to Haiti
It all started with a terrible earthquake in Haiti. Elementary students and healthcare workers in Palo Alto, CA put their grief and sadness to work and have sent 20 solar lights to the people of Musseau, Haiti, with plans to send at least 80 more in March.
The students at Escondido Elementary donated their annual fundraiser, Penny Power, to One Million Lights so that they could send much needed clean, solar light to families struggling to rebuild their lives in rural Haiti. By bringing in extra change, they have raised almost $4,000 in Februrary. With another few days to go, they have far exceeded their generous goal to raise at least $2,500 to fund 100 lights!
Through the tight-knit Palo Alto community, Escondido Elementary supporter and mother, Pamela Hornik, connected with fellow community member, Dr. Enoch Choi, an Urgent Care physician at Palo Alto Medical Foundation. Dr. Choi has organized a number of medical relief trips to Haiti and was delighted to take the solar lights with his team in February.
Dr. Choi noted that the solar lights have been “essential for diagnosis and treatment.” He went on to say that the solar lights “were much more useful than our solar panel-DC-powered-halogen-wired-light, because the solar lights are mobile. Without them, we could not have run clinic at night or even thru the overcast afternoons, for that matter. They were useful in packing up the clinic, and organizing at night to prepare supplies and medicines for the next day’s clinic.”
After the team’s stay in Haiti was over, the 12 medical team members distributed the solar lights to families living in a newly created tent city in Musseau. Previously an empty parking lot, this is now home to 200 families.
There was very limited electricity; A few hours were available here and there from a nearby sympathetic neighbor with a generator. The solar lights from One Million Lights will allow these families to operate more safely at night, preventing injuries from falls and burns from cooking injuries. Additionally, the lights will be instrumental for pregnant women’s deliveries, since that often happens at night and there is no nearby hospital or clinic.
Dr. Choi personally came to give One Million Lights and Escondido Elementary a heartfelt thank you. Saying that Escondido Elementary’s “lights have brought hope to many in despair.” He continued saying that the “lights were the most coveted item we brought. More so than our medicine and health related supplies. The only thing people asked for more often was for food and water.” Cash donations to Dr. Choi’s organization, Enoch Choi Foundation, helped his team to distribute food and water, which Enoch said “slaked the thirst and hunger of thousands in Carrefour, the poorest area of Haiti.”