A colorful idea
From left to right: The book’s illustrator, Dawn Stephens, author Jean Vinson, and Dr. Lisbet Hanson.
Teachers instruct a group of young Haitian students on proper hygiene to help prevent parasites.
VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - When Dr. Lisbet Hanson approached children’s author Jean Vinson about creating an educational coloring book for Haitian children, they had no idea just how timely their efforts would be.
In partnership with Operation Blessing, Dr. Hanson, Jean Vinson, and illustrator Dawn Stephens focused on developing a coloring book that would be a fun, educational tool to teach Haitian children about how to prevent parasites.
Last year, Dr. Hanson participated in an anti-parasite distribution with Operation Blessing in Haiti, so the collaborative effort was a natural fit and plans were made to distribute the book along with anti-parasite pills from OBI to children in Haiti.
Then, only a day after the coloring book was printed, the women heard the tragic news of the 7.0-magnitude earthquake in Haiti.
“It was devastating,” said Dr. Hanson, who was actually training Haitian nurses in Cange (northeast of Port-au-Prince) when the quake hit.
After that, the project took on even more significance.
“I had no idea the problems the kids were facing,” Dawn said.
She explained how it wasn’t just that the children didn’t know they should wear shoes or wash their hands, but that many didn’t have the resources to take those simple precautions.
After the earthquake those resources became even scarcer. Thanks in part to OBI’s immediate emergency relief response, thousands of Haitians now have access again to clean water, medical care and other relief, allowing teams to focus again on long-term health and recovery programs for Haitians.
So far, a shipment of 2,500 coloring books have been sent to Haiti, along with colored pencils donated by Blick Art Materials, one of OBI’s corporate partners.
Thanks to hygiene training and educational projects such as the coloring books, along with anti-parasite pills, infected children who are often chronically anemic, malnourished, and unable to attend school will now have the opportunity to live healthy, parasite-free lives.
HOW YOU CAN HELP: Be a part of Operation Blessing's efforts to transform the lives of children and adults in Haiti, please make an online contribution and help us continue to reach those in need.