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Kingston teacher helping people in Haiti affected by earthquake

A warm welcome back from students in a mountain school in the south of Haiti for Kingston teacher Linda Adams. Submitted photo.

Linda Adams, a local teacher from Kingston, has traveled to Les Cayes, Haiti, for over 15 years, teaching teachers and leading community outreach and leadership development programs for youth. She is now also helping people affected by the recent earthquake by raising funds with Vision Citadelle (a Haitian-led organization based in Montreal) to buy sea containers for quake-proof shelter for the thousands of homeless in the country.  

On Saturday, Aug. 14, 2021, a 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck southwestern Haiti. As of August 15, the Government of  Haiti had indicated that the earthquake had resulted in at least 1,297 deaths and injuries to at least 5,700 people, with hundreds still missing. 

Adams heard the news, and she instantly wanted to help. 

“News showing patients overwhelming the OFATMA hospital — where I had taken injured children we met in our programs in remote areas — less than a mile from where I lived. Buildings where I attended meetings have now collapsed, people who generously helped me on each trip have died, and others who were part of our teams are wounded,” said Adams.

Linda Adams in a classroom (Recognizing young leaders who helped with the summer programs in the seaside communities nearby)

Amid the pandemic, Adams couldn’t go back to volunteer, but that didn’t stop her from helping people affected in Haiti. She reached out to an old collaborator organization, Vision Citadelle, a Canadian organization run by Haitian immigrants who invest in education, the environment, and sustainable agriculture to dignify those who receive their support. The organization also provided relief supplies, helped replace livestock, and bought shelter materials for people affected by Hurricane Matthew in 2016. 

“I knew Vision Citadelle would immediately consider options, so I inquired,” said Adams. “Furthermore, Haitians who I trained after Hurricane Matthew’s disastrous impact in 2016 were traveling to the remote mountainous communities to distribute food packages.”

With thousands of families homeless and no means of recovering, the shelter was the priority, especially with three more months left in the hurricane season. The organization and volunteers are now helping raise funds to purchase quake-proof structures like sea containers. Moreover, Vision Citadelle volunteers are also providing on-the-ground logistics and support to international agencies. 

“As I prepare to begin another school year teaching in Kingston, my weariness has lifted. Knowing our donation will responsibly do what is promised, we can respond with more than shock and sympathy. I will continue to work tirelessly to help my Haitian families and friends rebuild the impoverished lives that have faced more trauma in this past decade than most of us would dare to imagine,” said Adams. 

Adams has been teaching French in rural schools and is now a school teacher in the city with the Limestone District School Board. She is an active volunteer with a long history of volunteering with local church and sports organizations. Adams started her foreign volunteer efforts back in 2000, teaching local leaders in Cuba. She has also led women’s educational programs in Peru, and taught in Canada’s north and South East Asia for a few months. 

“When I retire locally in a few years, I hope to continue teaching more extensively in underdeveloped countries,” said Adams. 

How to help 

For those wanting to assist Adams in her efforts, e-transfers can be sent to [email protected] with donors’ names and addresses for tax receipts. Cheques can be written to 1192 Lesage Blvd, Laval, Que H7E4S4. More information can be obtained from the website at visioncitadelle.org.

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