Kevin Cavanaugh is a senior program officer at the U.S. Fund who spent over 7 weeks on assignment in Haiti.
With the anniversary of Haiti’s crippling earthquake on the horizon, the world is searching for glimmers of hope and signs of improvement. We know they are hard to find and that those most concerned about Haiti might be frustrated by the pace of the recovery and reconstruction efforts.
We have to expect that. Every aid organization must take a hard look at what works and what doesn’t. We build on success and learn from mistakes. But we also have to remember the magnitude of the disaster and Haiti’s particular vulnerability. The progress has been remarkable given the circumstances. And UNICEF remains committed to the children of Haiti.
I was in Haiti this fall and I brought back picture-proof of why I remain committed. It’s the hand-drawn, hand-colored thanks of the children I met. These children never showed signs of frustration, though if anyone has a right to be critical of their plight – it’s them.
They have gone through so much. Much more than I can imagine. But I learned quickly that they should not be underestimated. They understand their surroundings. They understand the hardships. Yet they smile and play. They sing and they dance. They remain hopeful. And grateful.
These pictures were drawn by children at a UNICEF-supported Child-Friendly Space in Mais Gate Camp in Port-au-Prince. They include messages of thanks – messages that I was asked to share with all of our supporters. I hope that you will accept them with the same gratitude as we do.