Winnipeg, MB - January 28, 2010 - At 4:53 pm local time, January 12, 2010, a 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck the nation of Haiti 12 miles from the capital Port-au-Prince. As of January 24th, the death toll was expected to exceed 150,000. The vast majority of homes and government buildings, including the UN headquarters in Haiti and the Presidential Palace, collapsed. The country, one of the poorest in the Western Hemisphere, is in dire need and millions of Canadians had come forward to offer aid and CDI College was there to show support for the people of Haiti.
CDI College, on Friday January 22nd, was a sea of red and blue, in recognition of the colours of the Haitian flag. Streamers, bunting and a large flag of the Caribbean nation were displayed in the front lobby at 280 Main Street in Winnipeg. However it was what the staff, students and community did that is remarkable.
In partnership with two local FM radio stations, NCI-FM and Streetz-FM, a country music station and the other a hip-hop music station, CDI College hosted a large fundraising event in support of the people of Haiti.
Said Tahl East, Campus Director, "It is near impossible for us to grasp the reality as it is of the magnitude of the catastrophe that has taken place in Haiti and has gripped its people." East explained some of the facts about the Haitian catastrophe.
- Haiti is smaller than Manitoba, with a population of over 9,000,000
- Haiti is the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere
- 80% of Haiti's population lives below the poverty line making less than $2.00 a day
- Almost 48% of the population is illiterate
- Approximately 50% of the population is under the age of 18
- 150,000 children in Haiti are orphans
"We had three country music stars come to the campus with the two teams from NCI and Streetz. Billy Joe Green, Don Amero and Jerry Sereda were on hand to play their music in our lobby and give out CDs," East said.
One of the Dental Assisting Instructors baked 300 cupcakes with contributions from students in the Addictions and Community Services and Dental Classes for a highly successful bake sale held during the event. East said, "People want to give. Students have told me that their kids are emptying their piggy banks."
Students, staff and members of the Winnipeg downtown community joined everyone during the 3 hour fundraising event to listen to the music, share in support and enjoy the baked goods.
Representatives from the Winnipeg Haitian community, the Red Cross, as well as the Winnipeg Haitian Solidarity Group joined the event. "One man had just learned his 3 sisters and 2 brothers are in Haiti and have all been accounted for. We were glad of that good news." East stated.
The results of this fundraising event were dramatic: The total money donated on campus in 3 hours $1456.00 which does not include money donated at the Thompson and Inkster locations.
This total will be matched by the Federal Government with an additional $1456.00. The total contribution from CDI Winnipeg to The Canadian Red Cross is $2912.00 so far.
"What we accomplished today, as a team of staff, students and community, can only serve to make a difference for the people of Haiti! People for people. Thank you," East said adding, "It was fun in a very inspiring kind of way for all involved from the students to the stars, we accomplished our goal of doing our part in raising funds and much needed awareness."