Tag Archives: haiti

Saving the Street Children of Lima, Peru

 

Lima Peru is one of my favorite international cities. Yes, it’s large and congested, but the atmosphere is relaxed, people are friendly, the food is amazing and there is loads of culture around every corner.

But of course, like most of Latin America, there is also crippling poverty. To me at least, poverty is especially heartbreaking when it impacts children.

However, in all my travels, even in brutally poor areas,  I’ve found that the youngest children do seem outwardly happy, even in what we in the developed world consider mind-numbing poverty.

They are born incredibly resilient and their needs are pretty simple. Something as simple as a bag on a string or a discarded roller blade, can serve as a distraction.

Rimac River Where Many Street Children Live

But as they get older, the temptations in poor areas are intense as the reality of their situation begins to dawn.

There are estimated 120 million children living on the streets around the world with almost half estimated to be living in South America.

Young boys (typically ages 5-17) in particular are drawn to gangs, violence and drugs. Many, for whatever reason, either run away or are abandoned by their parents and become street children, forced to try to get along with their peers on the harsh streets of Lima Peru. They are young, vulnerable to abuse and scared.

Many of Lima’s street children live along the Rimac River. In 1999 a young French student traveler got to know some of these children and decided to do something about their situation. He created the Ninos Del Rio (Children of the River) organization  in 2000.

Today, years later this Paris & Lima based non-profit association continues to works with street children, establishing trust, providing food, shelter and mental counseling and when the time is right, promoting their return to their own home or  reintegration into another home.

They also work with the children currently on the streets in the district of San Juan de Miraflores, and help provide these kids an afternoon or so of diversion, where the kids can be kids.

We were able to stop by and meet some of the kids at the shelter, local staff and (mostly) French volunteers during our final day filming in Lima. I’m used to seeing young children in various situations in my travels, but I was surprised at moved I was by meeting these adolescent, teen boys.

Despite their harsh situation and past, I could literally feel their need for love. It was a similar feeling I’d had when visiting the really young Restavek (Child Slaves) at Freedom House in Haiti.

Kids need food, shelter, medical care, structure, discipline…. yes, but mostly they need love. Without it, their future is bleak. With it, their lives can completely change to a future capable of anything.

Ninos del Rio is a non-profit so they rely on donations and volunteers.

If you’d like to volunteer or donate please visit HERE. (Their web site is in Spanish  but Google Translate can translate to English for you).

I’ve seen first hand the good work the folks at Ninos Del Rio are doing. I can tell you that I don’t think you’ll regret helping.

I know I don’t regret visiting, and I hope I can come back soon and spend more time with these brave kids and the big hearted staff and volunteers.

Look for our “Give Back” segment on Ninos Del Rio coming up in our Lovable Lima episode set to premiere in the USA in May 2017.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Facebook Live Haiti Q&A – This Sunday 2/19/17 @ 3PM

TRAILER: Exploring Rural Haiti
WHO: ROBERT ROSE – RAW TRAVEL TV
WHAT: FACEBOOK LIVE Q&A: Exploring Rural Haiti & Traveling to Haiti
WHEN: SUNDAY 2/19 @ 3PM until 3:30PM EST
 
It’s finally here! My favorite Haitian episode is coming up this weekend (2/18-2/19).. Raw Travel 411- Exploring Rural Haiti.
 
A little backdrop, our stay in Port Au Prince had been full of unexpected challenges.  That’s when we went North to Cape Haitian and then South to Jacmel and things took a turn for the better. It was still tough, traveling to Haiti just is, but Haiti’s charms quickly took over & I began to loosen up and enjoy the humble but proud culture that is Haiti. Exploring rural Haiti was what the Vodou Shaman ordered (not really but we did explore his Vodou Temple) and I’m really fired up about this episode finally airing so I’m going to be on Facebook Live discussing our Haiti trip this Sunday @ 3PM.
 
If you can’t join in live but have any specific questions you’d like me to address, please post them and I’ll try to get to them and post the video after the live broadcast. In the meantime, hope you enjoy Raw Travel – Exploring Rural Haiti this weekend.
Here is a link to the video trailer.
http://rawtravel.tv/video/raw-travel-411-exploring-rural-haiti-trailer/

Help Free Child Slaves in Haiti

Freedom House is featured d on Raw Travel 406 – Port Au Prince. They are a U.S. supported charity helping to free poverty stricken “restaveks” (child slaves).

A restavek is a child that has been given to another family as a servant in hopes to have their basic needs met. If you see the segment, you will see how incredible these children are now that they are surrounded by love. Freedom House is not a huge bureaucratic organization with a lot of waste.

rob-with-girl

They are small and grassroots and just the kind of organization we like to shine the light on.

If you are so moved after seeing this weekend’s episode and would like to help Freedom House rescue more children, you can donate and support HERE.

A little goes a long way in Haiti, so no amount is too small.

rob-with-kids

Raw Travel Premieres Season 4 This Weekend in 93% of U.S.

 RAW TRAVEL’S SEASON 4 DEBUTS IN 93% OF U.S. THIS WEEKEND

– Four Straight Years of Rapid Growth for Authentic Adventure Travel Series – 

NEW YORK, NY:  September 28th, 2016 – AIM Tell-A-Vision® Group (AIM TV) announced today that its syndicated television series Raw Travel® will debut its 4th season this weekend in 159 cities, including 97 of the largest 100 U.S. markets. With an affiliate list that represents 105 Million and 93% of all U.S. TV homes, the season 4 (2016-17) debut represents the fourth straight year of record setting growth for the proudly independent adventure travel show.

Coming off its 3rd season where Raw Travel lengthened its lead as the #1 most watched authentic travel series in the U.S., season 4 will debut in an additional 15 new cities from Toledo to San Angelo.

Season 4 will also feature several upgraded time slots in major markets such as New York City (WNYW-Fox & WWOR-My), Philadelphia (WPHL-My) Cleveland (WOIO-CBS & WUAB-My), Seattle (KING-NBC & KONG-IND) Baltimore (WBFF-Fox & WUTB-My), and San Diego (XETV-CW). In Memphis the show is set to air on powerhouse WMC-NBC 5 Sundays @ 11 PM, which should help insure Raw Travel’s industry defying trajectory of audience growth.

Raw Travel surpassed 1 million weekly viewers on more than one occasion in Season 3, setting a high-water mark for the series that it expects to break in Season 4.

Globally, more international viewers are getting a taste of Raw Travel with outlets in Europe, Asia, Africa and many other key territories, which includes several major airlines that are licensing the series and helping spread the Raw Travel movement of socially conscious, authentic adventure travel.

One of the highlight episodes of Season 4 is “Cuba Undercover” which encompassed a covert journey to the island nation with a dismal record for journalistic freedoms. The producers posed as everyday tourists to give viewers a more authentic look at Cuba’s people, culture and burgeoning tourism now that the U.S. has eased decades old travel restrictions.

The producers also traveled to Haiti for an unflinching look at how non-governmental organizations (NGOs) may be contributing to Haiti’s dependence and reveal the darker side of the so-called “business of poverty”.  Simultaneously Raw Travel showcases how socially conscious tourism can help provide a much needed “hand up” rather than “hand out” for Haitians.

 “Raw Travel’s mantra of empathy and giving back is a reflection of a collective consciousness and mindset of a growing number of people. Raw Travel has a part to play in this large scale social movement and we’re humbled by the opportunity,” states Robert G. Rose, Executive Producer and Host.

Raw Travel is jointly distributed by AIM TV and Bright-Line Distribution. More information can be found at www.RawTravel.tv and viewers can visit www.RawTravel.tv/wheretowatch for a complete listing of cities, affiliates and time slots in the U.S. for Season 4.

# # #

ABOUT RAW TRAVEL TV

Raw Travel is the most watched authentic travel show on U.S. commercial television and is an adventure travel & lifestyle series showcasing the wave of socially and environmentally aware, independent travel. The series weaves together themes of eco-tourism, volun-tourism (giving back) with underground music and authentic culture in a unique way. Each weekend the show is seen in well over 150 U.S. cities and in several international territories (Asia, Africa, Europe, etc.). It can be found on several major airlines and soon in Over the Top (digital) platforms as well.  It is jointly distributed by AIM Tell-A-Vision Group and Bright-Line Distribution.

ABOUT AIM TELL-A-VISION GROUP

AIM Tell-A-Vision (AIM TV) is an independent content and distribution company founded by media entrepreneur Robert G. Rose. Since 2000, AIM TV has been producing and distributing positive, compelling content that reflects a mission of presenting “Media That Matters”. Visit www.AIMTVGroup.com for more information.

 

ABOUT BRIGHT-LINE DISTRIBUTION

Bright-Line Distribution is a partnership of syndication veterans Jacqueline Hartley and Nancy Cook. Bright-Line’s mission is to deliver, through high energy and determined efforts, predictable and consistent TV distribution results.

 

 

 

Voluntourism Vs. Disaster Capitalism

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Coincidentally, the evening before the big earthquake in Nepal, I watched Vice On HBO’s report on the confounding money pit Haiti has become after their devastating 2010 earthquake (below is a debriefing by Vice Reporter, Vikram Gandhi).

Like many who’ve donated money to Haiti, the report was beyond frustrating to see. Unfortunately it is not surprising.

I kind of had the feeling that this would happen. The fact that private U.S. companies are benefiting with millions of donors’ and taxpayer dollars while providing nothing of substance to the Haitian people hammered home the surprisingly difficult task of giving, especially when large, self interested bureaucracies like the U.S. Government, United Nations and a struggling third world government like Haiti’s are involved.

When we’re on the road filming up against intense deadlines in a country we’re often not familiar, The Giveback  segment is often the most stressful of all segments we produce.

My biggest fear is giving media credibility and valuable exposure to an individual or organization that is  a sham, scam or simply dishonest. There are so many so called “not-for-profits” that are set up with the sole purpose of making money by securing funds with little or no resources actually going to those in need.

On more than one occasion we’ve walked away from a filming opportunity because something didn’t feel right. Unfortunately, this is a horrible gauge of whether to help or not, but with scant research available in many of these destinations, we do the best we can and rely on what we see when there on the ground. So far, I don’t think we’ve made any mistakes, but that doesn’t mean it won’t happen.

Project Pearls in Manila
Project Pearls in Manila

 

Large, well funded organizations with slick websites and marketing plans can give the impression of stability, security and goodness of mission. But as we’ve witnessed and the Vice reporter underscores, this can be misleading.

That is one of the reasons we encourage DIY (Do It Yourself) Voluntourism and working with smaller, lesser known organizations run by locals. When there is less money at stake, there seems to be less opportunity for graft, corruption and waste.

Further, I feel our exposure has a larger relative impact and viewers who decide to help may get a more visceral feeling working with smaller organizations.

Our “Give Back” segments are less about the particular organization we happen to be highlighting and more about shining a spotlight on Voluntourism as a travel option in general. Viewers are encouraged to do their own research and get out there and do what makes them feel good. Giving after all is ultimately a selfish enterprise. We largely do it because it makes us feel good, but what a great way to be selfish.

This is not to say that all larger organizations are bad or corrupt. Unicef, World Vision, the Red Cross and dozens more like them are doing good work. We need these guys and we need to support them.

DIY Voluntourism - Water Filters in Honduras
DIY Voluntourism – Water Filters in Honduras

But we also need to ask hard questions and expect the right answers. What is happening in Haiti is a travesty of human greed and reflect the worst angels of human nature. But I know among all that misery, all that waste and disgusting display of capitalism disguised as charity, that there are people doing the right things and working hard to make a difference. I know because I’ve seen them and witnessed the results of their efforts first hand.

They, thankfully, are large in number even though it’s often maybe not a sexy story for the likes of CNN and other corporate media concerns.

We’re planning a trip to Haiti for our upcoming Season 3. We had every intention of going in Season 1 but then the earthquake hit and we weren’t established enough to handle producing in a disaster zone. We still aren’t. But if we wait for Haiti to fully recover then I fear we’ll be waiting a long time. Plus one of the main reasons for going is they still need our help.

In the meantime, I hate to say it but I’ve been thinking twice about donating to  disaster relief in Nepal, a place I haven’t visited but have every intention of getting to eventually (not to climb Everest but to get to know the people and culture).

That’s the tragedy of these things. The disaster capitalists rip us off in Haiti and then we’re hesitant to give the next time the need arises there or somewhere else.

But in the end I can’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. I do believe most short term disaster relief through most large and reputable organizations does get to the  intended targets and without that help, disaster would be multiplied many time over.

Nepal needs help so I’m going to do it. I’m including links below to Unicef and the Red Cross and World Vision. Three organizations I feel comfortable with. I’m sure there are many more.

A good tool to reference is Charity Navigator before you give to some of the more established and larger charitable organizations.

If you know of other, reputable, on the ground organizations in Haiti or Nepal, who could use Raw Travel’s brand of help, let us know. We’d like to check them out for ourselves and if we like what we see, maybe give them a little exposure.

Vice focus on the greed and corruption of the bad guys and I’m very thankful they are.

As for Raw Travel, we’ll continue to focus on the good.