Haiti – A Year Later…


One year since Haiti’s tragic earthquake and is it still top of mind? Do you know what is going on in this ravaged country? Last night I had the chance to have a special viewing of the W5 Documentary on Free The Children’s efforts and specifically the interaction between the inspiring Craig Kielburger who travelled back to Haiti with actress and humanitarian Mia Farrow, to see first-hand how the country is recovering. This was the 3rd or 4th time I had watched this documentary since it aired and finally I could watch with somewhat drier eyes as I knew that I personally was taking action to create a project from passion and want to do something long with more permanence to help a nation I have grown attached to. When you feel like you must do something so deep in your soul, you need to action it and having someone inspire you to pursue that action even more…well there are no steps backwards…only forward and my heart and soul are aligned.


  As the most impoverished nation in the Western Hemisphere, Haiti has been plagued for decades by political instability, devastating poverty and as we now now, natural disasters. The earthquake of 2010 left Haitians in a very desperate need of immediate international support.

Fast forward to today – the need still continues, with the attention that now needs to be turned to reconstruction of this country over the many years to come. Truly the support of the global community is going to be the only way to promote sustainable, long-term development, and will assist the Haitians be freed from the cycle of poverty they now endure in their country.

Free The Children has and is working in partnership with communities in Haiti to create new opportunities for education by building schools and implementing other programs that empower the community. The power for growth and revitalization will come from the children, the most resilient of us all.

I was fortunate to actually meet and speak with Craig himself and his fantastic right-hand gal in Haiti, Erin Barton- Chery and her husband Lucas Chery. My first question to Erin after the presentation was “How do you decompress?” The initial answer – an unwavering smile with the realistic eye contact telling me “when you are immersed in it, you live it.” This couple is so invested in ensuring they do their part to make, impact and to action what needs to be done with what they have to work with. As Lucas said to me “we work to make it happen” and truly how can that not be more accurate when your heart and mind is in the right place.

Erin Barton-Chery and I at MeToWe Store Toronto

  I was so warmly welcomed for my interest and passion towards my own project with my company, AYA Life that is soon to launch to take place in May 2011 with my fantastically talented friend, local activist and social entrepreneur, Dwayne Morgan. The power of thought and then of follow through is guiding us to places with this journey we had our initial doubts on but now with the guidance of Free The Children and their fantastic staff we are “seeing the light” to propel us further than anticipated. With great partners like Air Canada and other alliances soon to be named we hope to do our little part in bringing the attention back to where it is needed, back to Haiti, to help those that we can and stick in for the long haul as we are so blessed to live in Canada.

Look for updates soon on this amazing journey Dwayne and I are putting together, bringing creativity and heartfelt passion with action and intent to bring as much aide as we can to the people of Haiti and to bring back ever-changed hearts and minds of all those who will be joining us on this creative and empowering journey.

Find out what you can do, add it to the resolution list of life! Let’s Make The World A Better Place – One Step At A Time!




About traveliciousdee

Deborah Peniuk is the owner of AYA Life , a travel consulting company that brings dreams to life; and she is @TraveliciousDee, a creative outside-the-box travel planner & retreat builder who has empowered clients to travel since the 1990's. Specializing in small group travel she creates retreats for all doctrines of health and wellness. Her team spirit and limitless imagination are key to anyone planning a memorable "outside the lines" experience. www.aya-life.com

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