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Sweepin' the clouds away

Haiti, October 19, 2010

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The NonProfit Times
October, 2010

Sesame Workshop and Mercy Corps partner to heal Haiti

Following the January 12 earthquake that ravaged Haiti, Mercy Corps was one of many organizations that hit the ground running. Throughout 2010, it has actively participated in a number of heavy-lifting projects, including delivering emergency food supplies and creating drainage ditches, clean water systems, and latrines.

But when it came time to begin healing the minds of the Haitian children who were traumatized by the disaster, the Portland, Ore.-based nonprofit joined with a group that has been the source of many sunny days -- Sesame Workshop.

...The films will be integrated into Mercy Corps' Comfort for Kids program, which trains parents and other caregivers to help children emotionally recover from the earthquake, according to Lisa Hoashi, Mercy Corps' public information officer, Haiti. Comfort for Kids is an important component of the Mercy Corps Haiti youth program, which combines training for caregivers, workbooks for adults and children, open-air film events, as well as arts and sports-based youth development activities.

"We felt this integrated well with our Comfort for Kids program, which is a program that we've done following a number of emergencies," Hoashi explained. "We formulated the program after September 11, in partnership with psychologists, concerning post-traumatic stress after a large-scale emergency. We implemented it after Hurricane Katrina and the Sichuan earthquake in China. It's used to train teachers, parents, and any kind of person that works with kids, in ways that can help kids recover from the disaster."