Kingston Medal Recipient Returning to Haiti’s Cite Soleil


By Steve Gerard, Kingston Herald
July 10, 2016

With less than a month having passed since Kingston’s Tammy Aristilde was awarded the prestigious Meritorious Service Medal, the charity worker is now making final arrangements to return to Cite Soleil in Haiti.

The founder of Helping Haiti was presented the award on June 23rd in Ottawa by Governor General David Johnston, someone who shares another connection with Aristilde through his alma mater (Law’66, LLD’91), Queen’s University, where Tammy is a Supervisor in the Campus Security department.

While there is no cash award to Meritorious Service Medal recipients, it does shine a light on charities that both raises awareness and confidence for donors.

Aristilde's Meritorious Service Medal

Aristilde’s Meritorious Service Medal

Aristilde’s hope in being awarded the Meritorious Service Medal is for “increased awareness of the work being done on the ground with Helping Haiti and for others to get involved. There are strength in numbers and we are excited to increase our numbers, our reach and our impact.”

That philosophy of strength in numbers (and a testament to current Helping Haiti supporters) was demonstrated this past week when Aristide posted a request to finance a last minute opportunity that would benefit Haitians in her upcoming trip. The addition required hundreds of dollars in extra funding – and it was paid for by supporters in less than an hour.

The team enroute to Haiti later this month will also include Director Aaron Sousa. He will be working with their Helping Haiti Clinic staff and offering first aid and CPR programs to the general population of Cite Soleil.

Sousa’s own fundraising efforts this month have enabled additional purchases that include an automatic blood pressure cuff, allowing medical providers to accurately and consistently track patients’ blood pressure as they are triaged upon arrival, and a no touch/forehead thermometer for quickly assessing and screening patients for fever. Those items join the 8000 gauze pads and 192 conforming gauze rolls his sponsors have also funded for this trip.

Tammy outlined some of their other projects set for late July that include:

– First Aid classes for 3 different zones of Cite Soleil,
– Local meetings to move the process along towards a more sustainable clinic practice,
– Morning yoga classes for the elders with a focus on core strength and balance,
– Water distribution,
– Work with our micro credit and artisan teams,
– Plans to organize a 3v3 basketball tournament where each of the teams will receive jerseys provided by the Calgary Selects.

Contrary to another media report, Helping Haiti runs only one medical clinic in the country – where all donations and services are concentrated – and this month they will be blending their Canadian doctor with those local clinic staff.