N.O. schools and universities helping Haiti earthquake victims

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by Scott Satchfield

wwltv.com

Posted on January 15, 2010 at 7:21 PM

One by one, they stopped to drop off cash.

Students and faculty at Xavier University are paying close attention to chaotic situation in Haiti, and through a donation drive, they hope to do their part to help.

"I think one of the things with this campus is that students will rally around a cause," said Dr. Pamela Franco, who works in the Academic Affairs at Xavier.
 
Franco says the immediate priority is fundraising, but down the road Xavier aims to help in other ways.
 
Now, it's up to students and faculty to decide how best to channel their energy toward helping the struggling country.
 
"We see our efforts as not just a one stop effort. It's going to be multi-phased, and also it's going to be long-term," Franco said.
 
It's a similar vision at schools and universities across the metro area.
 
While students from St. Paul's Episcopal School held vigil for earthquake victims Friday morning, school officials, along with a nonprofit organization, worked on plans for their own relief effort.
 
"Right now what they need most is food and medical supplies," said Kathy Korge Albergate, Global Mission Director at St. Paul’s.
 
Albergate travels to Haiti frequently -- working to teach kindergarteners English.
She says the last few days have been tough, wondering how her Haitian students fared.
 
"Not knowing which ones are okay, which ones lost parents, which ones lost grandparents, siblings. So far we haven't heard any deaths from our school, but we don't know totally yet," Albergate said.
 
Angel Paraham, an assistant sociology professor at Loyola University shares that same sense of concern.
 
Paraham has studied the Haitian culture for several years.
 
Through her travels to the country, Paraham has seen first hand just how dire the situation was, even before the earthquake.
 
She says for the relief effort to become effective, it must be sustained for a lengthy period of time.
 
"I'm just hoping already that we don't get donor fatigue real early in this, because we here in New Orleans know first hand what it's like to have a disaster, and you know what it's like when people forget you, and think things are fine," Paraham said.

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