Haiti Six Months on
On January 12th, 2010, a devastating earthquake struck Haiti, a quake that created 1.5 million refugees in the blink of an eye. The figures are still guesstimates, but up to 300,o00 people died and another 300,000 were wounded. Bodies are still being found in the 20 million tons of rubble that used to be a city. Six months on and little has changed, while we’ve been watching the world cup and electing governments, the people of Haiti have been largely ignored. Back in January the TV showed little else but pictures of the devastation, now we hear nothing, it’s history, it’s time to move on to the next disaster.
I hope anyone reading this post doesn’t think this way. The people of Haiti are still in desperate need of assistance and you can do your bit to help by offering a donation to the Red Cross or one of the other relief organisations.
There is also another way to help and this way you get something to go with the feeling of well being.
Last January, a writer called Greg McQueen, saw those dreadful pictures on the TV and decided that there must be more he could do than chuck a fiver in a bucket. He was a writer, he knew lots of writers, there were plenty of them in the Internet groups he belonged to. What if 1oo of those writers donated a story? They could put out an eBook and sell it, with the proceeds going to the Red Cross appeal.
Greg posted his crazy idea on Twitter and sat back waiting for the negative responses, but what came back both surprised and delighted him. Not only did he receive encouragement by way of email, but instead of 100 stories, 500 dropped into his inbox. Writers from all over the planet got in touch to say that they would like to do their bit to help the people of Haiti. It wasn’t only unpublished writers who got involved, published novelists offered stories of their own, editors from online magazines offered their services to edit the half million words that had been sent.
Smashwords.com stepped in to host the eBook for free on their website and Bridge House Publishing offered to publish the book as a paperback. The result was possibly some sort of record. The project had gone from the original idea, to a published book that was available to buy from Amazon or a High Street bookshop, within six weeks. The process can take anything up to two years normally.
Greg and the authors began to advertise the book. People were interviewed by their local newspapers and radio stations, others held book signings. An offer was even made to translate the book into Portuguese for the Brazilian market. Last, but certainly not least, some of the stories were made into an audio book.
The book has raised thousands of pounds for the Red Cross appeal so far and there is plenty of scope for it to raise thousands more yet. The book isn’t ABOUT Haiti, it’s FOR Haiti, inside you will find stories of hope and stories of love, some are amusing, some are more serious, there is also an excellent story for children.
So, if you feel you’d like to do something for the people of Haiti and get yourself a damn good read in the process, pop along to any of the sites listed below and you’ll be able to order the book, or download the eBook. Keep it by your bedside and read a different story every night, then you can sleep soundly knowing you have done your bit for the people of a devastated country.
The Audiobook can be found at