Air Canada has a long history of working with reputable relief agencies to provide first response support during times of disaster in Canada and around the world. Support consists mainly of tickets to reach disaster stricken area, transportation of relief supplies and, in some cases, dedicated relief flights. Over the years we have supported efforts in Haiti, Japan and New Orleans, just to name a few.
Following the devastation in Haiti, the desire of Air Canada employees to get involved and make a difference was overwhelming. Many initiatives and humanitarian efforts were undertaken by employees worldwide. Significant sums of money were raised in support of a long term development project benefiting children. The Montreal based organization Kanpe was selected for this endeavour. "Kanpe" is Creole for "stand up." Their primary mission is to put an end to the cycle of poverty by enabling Haitian families to become financially viable. Kanpe’s programs focus on nutrition, health, education, agriculture and safe housing for the most vulnerable families. www.kanpe.org
Other actions were taken to support Haitian children:
- Air Canada employees organized a clothing drive called "Dress a Child". This initiative resulted in 317 boxes of clothes being shipped to three orphanages in Le Carrefour, Haiti; more than 1000 children were dressed from head to toe.
- A school supplies initiative was organized giving 3500 children from different villages and schools in Haiti the necessary tools to help better their education.
Most recently, the Air Canada Foundation supported a team of four Air Canada employees who traveled to Baille Tourible on a two-week solidarity mission to Haiti.
A first hand account by Dan Fillman, Toronto-based Licensed Aircraft Technician provides a brief insight of group's journey.
In December 2012, four of us set out for Baille Tourible, a small village in Haiti located at approximately six hours from Port au Prince.
We were able to assist Kanpe with the building of a school, repairing the road, and installing 10 solar street lights, all funded by donations through the Air Canada Foundation.
The people of Baille Tourible are proud, hard working, positive, happy people who are always willing to work together to improve their community.
They live a very simple life. Every day is just an effort to survive. With the help of organizations like Kanpe and the Air Canada Foundation they can now send their children to school, feed their families at least two meals a day, and receive much needed medical attention.
I feel extremely fortunate to have been able to witness the smiles on the faces of those people that we were able to help, all made possible by the generosity and dedication of those involved with the Air Canada Foundation.
Read a more detailed diary of the employees’ journey and see some of the great pictures taken by Michele Taras, Flight Attendant based in Toronto during their volunteer work.