Newcastle West men and lifelong runners Danny Massey and John Barrett took to the streets of Dublin on October 31st this year for the annual Dublin City Marathon. Theirs was no ordinary run, the two men organised to complete the marathon pushing an old fashioned pram and collecting donations as they jogged along. It must have made for an unusual and entertaining site to see them traverse the Phoenix Park and all the streets and roads of the course, one hand on the pram (which thankfully has excellent suspension) and one hand carrying a collection bucket which was filled many times over by the hugely supportive onlookers. Danny and John chose to donate to Concern this year, as they did last year when they carried out the same feat. This year, despite the hardships people are facing in the ongoing recession, saw donations increase significantly to over €2,500, all gathered by two men and a pram and covering the 26 mile course in just four and a half hours. Tired but exhilarated by their achievement, Danny and John were truly heartened by the warm and generous feedback they got on the streets of Dublin. Notably they found the biggest response from people was that of ‘thank you’ to them for making the effort to get out and collect and donate to the hugely important and successful work of Concern. As Hurricane Sandy had literally wreaked havoc that day on the small Caribbean island of Haiti, Danny and John decided to donate the full amount to the Haiti Relief Fund. Here is a brief account of Concern’s work on the little island that has seen more than its fair share of misery from both human and environmental hands.

Concern Worldwide

Many of the countries where Concern Worldwide works are highly vulnerable to conflict-based emergencies and natural disaster. They are prone to floods, storms, earthquakes and droughts. The frequency of these disasters is increasing at an alarming rate. Haiti’s multiple vulnerabilities hit home in 2008. Food riots in April followed by months of political instability, topped off with four hurricanes in the space of three weeks in August/September 2008. The National Food Security commission reported 206,607 people at risk of serious food insecurity. Concern provided post-hurricane relief to 1,269 families and helped more than 8,000 others restore their ability to produce food with cash-for-work opportunities. We continue to distribute seeds, tools and livestock to affected communities. Then Haiti’s most powerful earthquake in 200 years struck on January 12th, 2010.

Massive Blow

The earthquake was a massive blow to an already deeply impoverished country. Concern has been in Haiti since 1994. We know the depth of poverty and deprivation that existed before the earthquake and the devastating impact the disaster itself had on the country. Since the 2010 earthquake, Concern Worldwide and other charities have made significant progress in Haiti and this has not been accurately reflected in the media. Some media criticism of the slow pace of the Haiti aid effort has been largely unreasonable and unrealistic. There has been significant progress and there are real signs of hope, but this is not being conveyed in a balanced way. The Irish public, who donated with exceptional generosity and with real humanity, have contributed hugely to assisting the Haitian people affected by the earthquake. Concern Worldwide works hard to make sure as much as possible is achieved with the funds donated. You’d be surprised about just how far your donations can go. For instance, €49 can provide 15-day emergency food supplies to 10 families. With €100 clean water can be provided for an entire village.

Concern Worldwide is committed to using your donations to transform the lives of some of the poorest people in the world.