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Beeping Bush Ltd
Screen South’s Community Film Network Partner for Kent & Medway

Children of Haiti @ The Community Pharmacy Gallery
Photographs from a Haitian children’s home

30 Apr 2010

Photograph taken from the Children of Haiti exhibition by Andrea Benton   Photograph taken from the Children of Haiti exhibition by Andrea Benton
Photographs by Andrea Benton

Dates: Friday 30 April - Monday 4th May 2010

Three months since the Haitian earthquake, local community arts organisation Beeping Bush widens its remit to raise money for a community 4000 miles away.

The exhibition at The Community Pharmacy Gallery showcased a series of powerful and yet infinitely warm images of children who live in and around an orphanage located northwest of Port au Prince.

These photographs were taken in Haiti by American nurse, Andrea Benton and British teacher, Ema Rush, 41, who works as a prison educator in Canterbury. The pair were part of a relief team who volunteered their services a few weeks after the earthquake to provide practical assistance and also to help restore some hope to a community 40 minutes’ drive northwest of the capital. For most of the team, this was the latest of many trips to Haiti, though the first since the earthquake. As Andrea Benton observed:

“I believe each trip fulfils a purpose and … I believe the Haitian people benefited [from] more time spent together after this horrific event they had been through. It is the small steps that help meet their long term needs!”
A range of digital prints were on sale. £200 was raised to go directly to rebuilding the Cabaret school in Haiti.

Ashford Visual Arts and Architecture

Ian Webster of Eyeball Digital Signs generously
sponsors this photographic exhibition.

Further info:

The school in Cabaret had a roll of 220 pupils on January 12th 2010. On the day that Ema taught the children “Heads, shoulders, knees, and toes” and other useful songs, the school were able to combine classes to make two classes of 34 children - That’s 152 pupils whose families were either grieving, or simply too scared to send them in. However, there is a tremendous determination to put the past behind and embrace new challenges. All of the children that Ema spoke to were aspirational: “These children wanted to be doctors, nurses, teachers and other professionals. They are willing and able to confront the cycle of poverty they see around them,” she said. They just need some basic assistance: materials and very importantly, modern equipment. These teachers have a blackboard. Their pupils have desks. And that is really it.”

Ema Rush thanked the kindness of people who donated medical supplies and vitamins and the subscribers to Freecycle, who donated 12 pairs of crutches. Also, shops, like Boots the Chemists in Canterbury whose pharmacy donated small, but very gratefully received, amounts of water purification tablets, antiseptic creams and bandages. A pot of blackboard paint, part of another donation from Canterbury art supplier, Chromos, was sent to refurbish the blackboards in the Cabaret School. All these items found a home.

The main message of this exhibition is to admire and celebrate the children of Haiti, their resilience, their determination to succeed in getting the most out of life, but above all their love of life and their total engagement in every moment! Andrea Benton, who took the majority of the photographs, understands this and she has captured images of this. Both Andrea and Ema are delighted to share some of their vision.

On the charity side, Ema Rush’s trip was initially inspired by the hope that one ordinary person can make a difference. With the help of other people, people who care, and are willing to keep giving, she believes, people can reach across our world to touch one other. As Brendan Gormley, Chief Executive of the Disasters Emergency Committee commented in the weeks after the disaster, “…the remarkable generosity of the UK public has continued to make possible the vital work that is being done by our member agencies on the ground in Haiti.

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