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Team Rubicon and Serve On partner up in Haiti

Team Rubicon UK and Serve On have yet again partnered up to bring desperately needed aid to communities in Haiti following the devastation of Hurricane Matthew.

Due to the diverse range of skills both charities recruit and train in their volunteer workforces, they are able to adapt their approach to the key needs of the impacted communities.

TRUK Operations Manager Dan Cooke assesses hurricane damage in the Les Cayes region of Haiti
TRUK Operations Manager Dan Cooke assesses hurricane damage in the Les Cayes region of Haiti

The Team Rubicon recce team identified a number of urgent priorities in the days immediately after the hurricane and called in trained Team Rubicon chainsaw operators to clear roads that had made vulnerable communities completely inaccessible except by helicopter. Allowing aid to get through meant that activities could move on to reconstruction – with a particular focus on rebuilding community facilities, especially schools.

With roads opened the team were able to work with local partner Hope for Haiti to deliver materials in order to repair community buildings and other basic infrastructure. Stanley, from Hope for Haiti, who provided translation and local knowledge said “Seeing people come from so far to help gives them hope and shows them that people do care and that they haven’t been forgotten. Your work inspires them to keep the recovery movement going when it’s easy to give up. Working with them to build a new roof on a school building gives them training and something to be proud of. School buildings are often used for multiple functions, as community centres, churches and shelters as well as schooling. So by repairing one building, you repair the structure of the community by restoring routine, church on Sunday, school on weekdays, clinic on Wednesday. Reopening this building means that everything restarts and normality resumes.”

Team Rubicon and Serve On volunteers work together on repairs
Team Rubicon and Serve On volunteers work together on repairs

During this early phase Serve On supported Team Rubicon with practical assistance such as transport and logistics. For the second phase of the operation two members of the Serve On team, Craig Elsdon and David ‘Jacko’ Jackson joined Team Rubicon on the ground to help provide communications and security expertise.

The final phase of the operation was run in conjunction with Airlink , Bell Helicopters and field partner Hope for Haiti to deliver 21,000 meals by air, and to rebuild the roof of an orphanage. TRUK Greyshirt volunteer Justine Gosling said “The roof in the bedroom is so old and damaged every time it rains the roof leaks. During hurricane Matthew the girls’ bedroom flooded, soaking all their beds with dirty water.

When asked what Team Rubicon’s skills and team work could help with, the manager of the orphanage asked if we could replace the roof so that the children would not get wet as they slept when it rained at night.

TR medic Taryn gives medication to a young child
Team Rubicon medic Taryn gives medication to a young child

Over 2 days, this is what the team did. A new, leak free roof was erected and was put to the test the very night it was finished by an almighty downpour. Our team medic and other partner medical professionals also administered basic health checks on the children, treating them for ringworm, skin conditions – encouraging them to take the de-worming pill with a fresh apple each.”

Both Team Rubicon and Serve On believe that partnership is key to the success of the operation. Craig Elsdon said “Team Rubicon and Serve On complement each other so well with the skills and experience that they deliver for each other. It has been an honour and a privilege to work side by side with my team from Team Rubicon. We have built roofs on schools, delivered food aid by helicopter and assisted an orphanage. Very different from what Serve On does, but every bit as vital and rewarding. I would urge anyone looking to get into this work to give Team Rubicon a call.”

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