Celebrities from Hollywood joined Father Richard Frechette for the inauguration of a rehabilitation center for children in Haiti, a country with the highest rate of infant mortality.
Paul Haggis, Diane Lane, Josh Brolin, Jimmy Jean-Louis, Madeleine Stowe, Maria Bello, Michael Stahl-David and former US Senator John Edward celebrated the opening with the children and their families.
The new facility, Kay Ste Germaine will provide care for special needs children as part of Saint Damien, the only free pediatric hospital in Haiti, built and funded by Italian non-profit NPH (Our Little Brothers).
“I am particularly excited about being here for the opening of this rehabilitation facility which is much-needed,” said John Edwards.
“I am also here to help, we hope, bring attention to the plight of the Haitian people, their struggles and their efforts to have a better life.”
Haiti is the poorest country in the western hemisphere and the United Nations says diarrhea, respiratory infections, malaria, tuberculosis and HIV/Aids are the leading causes of death.
“During our visit we accompanied Father Rick on his DAILY rounds of collecting the dead and unclaimed children from the hospital and giving them a dignified burial. We buried one child who we had held just the day before. It’s heart breaking,’ Haitian actor Jimmy Jean-Louis said.
“It’s shocking for a lot of Americans to see a country so close to the United States being one of the poorest countries in the world,” American actress Maria Bello said.
“In Haiti, handicapped children are often abandoned and are regarded as a burden and a waste of time, the new facility can assist 5,000 children per year,” said NPH’s Gina Heratz.