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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Monday, Sept. 1, 2014

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Families and individuals with nowhere to go have set up camp in the courtyard of St. Damien Hospital.
Families and individuals with nowhere to go have set up camp in the courtyard of St. Damien Hospital.

A Haitian orphanage housing local hope

Following last week’s earthquake, the devastation in Haiti is unimaginable and images of death, destruction and chaos have permeated television newscats and propelled us to donate in any way possible. For a few Milwaukeeans, the drive to recover, help and rebuild is a bit deeper. 

Locals Ron and Ronni Pruhs have volunteered at the Nuestros Pequenos Hermanos (NPH) orphanage in Port Au Prince since 1995. NPH runs orphanage facilities throughout Latin America and the Caribbean; specifically in Haiti, the facilities include a home for orphaned, abandoned and disadvantaged youth as well as the only free children’s hospital in Haiti.

"From our perspective, the situation is one of utter devastation and loss, not only of buildings, but life.  We feel deep grief for friends who are lost, and are very worried about the future of our Haitian friends and their families," says Ron Pruhs.

"We think logistics are going to be the biggest problem. Many countries and humanitarian groups want to help and will send shipments of goods, but there is no infrastructure to deal with either the people or the goods."

The orphanage houses over 400 children and the hospital, expanded in 2006 to include two locations, serves more than 20,000 individuals each year.

"Before the earthquake, Haiti seemed to be picking itself up. Streets were cleaner and the government was stable, the first time in a long time.  There was grave poverty and malnutrition, but the misery was not as overarching as we have observed in the past. We can’t imagine the need for basic food and water now," Pruhs says.

Donations for Earthquake Relief and the NPH Orphanage can be made on the organization’s Web site.

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