Riverdance, Mario Rosenstock, Brian Kennedy, Kila, Róisín O, and Patrick Bergin are just some of the big names who will take part in a gala concert to raise funds for an Irish charity working on the ground in Haiti.
The charity gig will be hosted by MCs Miriam O’Callaghan and Brendan O’Connor and other performers on the night will include Kila, Vladimir and Anton, and The Line-Up Choir. The event will take place on 11 March at the Convention Centre in Dublin.
The gala concert aims to raise awareness and support for the people of Haiti, which remains one of the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere. Haven is a prominent Irish NGO working on the ground in Haiti since 2008 and all proceeds raised will go directly to their recovery work there in the wake of Hurricane Matthew.
The worthy event is being organised of John McColgan, the multi-award winning Producer, Director, Creative Director of Riverdance and founding Director of Tyrone Productions.
John decided to organise a unique fundraising Gala Concert after he visited Haiti in November 2016. John, along with his film-maker brother Gerry and actor/writer son Danny, travelled to Haiti to witness first-hand the work of Haven in the wake of Hurricane Matthew, which hit in October 2016. Photographs and videos of the group’s visit to Haiti will be exhibited at the Gala Concert.
“Having travelled to different parts of the world affected by poverty and conflict - including Palestine - we wanted to visit Haiti to capture the stories of its people, explore reality on the ground, and document how the Haitian people are rebuilding their lives after the devastation of the third major natural disaster in just six years," says John McColgan.
"It was a truly eye-opening and thought-provoking experience to do so with Haven, and I am delighted to be able to share it with the people of Ireland at this Gala Concert. I wish to sincerely thank all the performers who are taking part: together, we can help the people of Haiti to restore their livelihoods and communities after this immensely challenging time.”
Haven has done amazing work in Haiti since it was set-up. Haven works solely in Haiti, focusing on three core development areas: water and sanitation, training and education, and shelter. Launched in 2008, Haven quickly moved from a house-building charity to one providing emergency relief in the wake of the destructive earthquake which struck in January 2010. As recovery efforts began to take hold, it moved to a sustainable community development strategy which centres on building a secure, independent future for Haiti’s people.
To date, Haven has facilitated the training of over 78,000 Haitian people, empowering them to build strong and sustainable livelihoods and to live free from poverty. It has also brought over 1,400 Irish volunteers to Haiti to assist with the building of houses through its Volunteer Programme; homes and shelters for over 21,510 people have already been built or upgraded.
“It was a privilege to welcome the McColgan family to Haiti and to show them our projects in Haiti, especially after the devastation of Hurricane Matthew," says Leslie Buckley, chairperson and founder of Haven. "During their time in Haiti, they not only witnessed the gravity of the situation there, but, by raising awareness of it, greatly helped our recovery efforts and development in the communities we work with every day.
"Through this concert, we aim to create further support, and appeal to the generous Irish public to join us on the night to help the people of Haiti in their recovery. On behalf of the Haven team, I wish to sincerely thank all the artists for so selflessly giving their time and commitment in this vital fundraising event.”
As part of their trip, the McColgans travelled to the island of Île à Vache, and visited the communities of Figuier, Le Hatte, and Nan Roche to see first-hand the damage caused to Haven’s boat-building, agricultural and business development programmes. They also spent time with Haven’s emergency response team to observe the co-ordination and recovery process in action.
From there, they moved to Haven’s Christine Farm agricultural project in the Cavaillon Valley, where all the crops were destroyed, putting a temporary but significant strain on the economic independence of local farmers.
They also visited Irish woman Gena Heraty, who runs an orphanage for children with disabilities in the mountainous area of Kenscoff, before spending time at Hope House Haiti, a foster home for 40 children and a free school to more than 500 local students, where 30 Haven volunteers were based last year.
Hurricane Matthew was the most powerful hurricane to strike Haiti in over fifty years. Bringing 230km/h winds and torrential rain, it devastated what already stood as one of the poorest countries in the world.
More than 1.4 million people were left in urgent need of humanitarian aid. Families, particularly children, found themselves exposed to cholera and other life-threatening diseases, as unprecedented flooding brought severe water contamination. With between 80% and 100% of crops in south Haiti destroyed, many communities experienced chronic food shortages, posing the threat of hunger and malnutrition.
Haven’s team led the emergency response on the island of Île à Vache, where many of its development programmes are based. In the weeks after the hurricane, Haven distributed 500,000 meals; 60,000 water-purifying tablets; 40,000 sachets of water; and 1,100 tarpaulins.
Now, Haven is looking to long-term recovery for the people of Haiti in the wake of the third major natural disaster to hit the country in just six years.
Haven’s team is leading recovery work on the remote island of Île à Vache, which lay at the eye of Hurricane Matthew, the most powerful hurricane to hit Haiti in over fifty years. Having focused on the emergency response and successfully prevented the spread of cholera there, the Haven team is supporting local people to restart their livelihoods, restore their destroyed farms, and rebuild their damaged homes. All funds raised at the Gala Concert will make an incredible contribution towards this.
Tickets for the Gala Concert start from €25 and are on sale now through Ticketmaster.