Harry Potter Goes To Haiti

Photo: Jon Lascher

A terrific story is currently unfolding below the media radar in Boston.

Today the Harry Potter Alliance – in conjunction with Partners in Health – sends its fourth planeload of relief supplies to Haiti since the January earthquake. (Livestream here.)

The first three flights were named Harry, Hermione, and Ron, respectively. Today’s is DFTBA – “Don’t Forget to Be Awesome.” (Take it up with these guys about the name.)

A fifth flight, Dumbledore, is scheduled for mid-May.

The Harry Potter Alliance is “dedicated to using the examples of Harry Potter and Albus Dumbledore to spread love and fight the Dark Arts in the real world.”

HPA co-founder and executive director Andrew Slack said in a phone interview that the idea for the group came out of the fifth Harry Potter book, in which Dumbledore’s Army wakes the world up to injustice.  Slack wanted to bring that mission to the online fan community, to explore “the power of organizing around a story and applying it to real lives and the real world.”

As Slack describes it, HPA “harnesses the power of new media and cutting-edge social networking platforms to communicate with more than 100,000 people, including 60 HPA chapters across the U.S. and the world.”

After January’s earthquake devastated Haiti, HPA joined with about 20 other like-minded social-media groups and launched a fundraising campaign called Helping Haiti Heal. They also looked for an organization they could support among the many relief efforts, and chose Partners in Health.

PIH is a non-profit organization that “works to bring modern medical care to poor communities in 12 countries around the world,” and that has been providing “comprehensive healthcare to the poorest of the poor in Haiti for over 20 years,” regional outreach manager Samantha Ender said in a phone interview.

“HPA was looking for a relief organization to support,” Ender recalled. “Andrew came to us and said, ‘I think we can raise $5000.’”

In the course of two weeks, Helping Haiti Heal raised $123,754.41.

And that will raise five cargo planes, starting with Harry and Hermione in mid-March, continuing with Ron last week.

Photo: Jon Lascher

Photo: Tim Farrell

Representative cargo list:

1 pallet gauze pads, medical masks
1 pallet 4″ elastic bandage
1 pallet cleaning supplies, pads, hand sanitizer
1 pallet boxes of medical supplies + headlamps
1 pallet solar lights, solar suitcases
1 pallet sealed batteries for solar
1 pallet solar lights
1 pallet solar batteries, sealed
1 pallet 20 cases CIRCUIT, 1L BAG PED 60″ (30/CS);
4 CATH TRAY, CVC TRPL LUM 7FR
4 CATH TRAY, CNTRL VENOUS M7.5FR
64 cases DRAIN, HUBLESS RND END PERF 15
40 cases DRAIN, HUBLESS RND END PERF 19
1 pallet rolled gauze, rubbing alcohol
1 pallet 1 box surgical supplies, wound VAC canisters, Xerox 3300MFP printer
1 pallet art supplies
1 pallet gauze pads, rolled gauze, masks
1 pallet blankets
1 pallet sheets
1 pallet sheets
1 pallet sheets
1 pallet rolled gauze, blood pressure machines
1 pallet paper tape, elastic bandages
1 pallet rolled gauze, gauze pads
1 pallet 8 boxes  generators, 10 oxygen regulators (50psi), 20 oxygen hoses (10ft), physical therapy supplies
1 pallet 8 boxes generators, spectrum MM
1 pallet physical therapy supplies
1 pallet physical therapy supplies
1 pallet physical therapy supplies
1 cooler 500 I-sat Cartridges : 250 EG6 cartriges, 150 Crea cartridges

Slack estimates that the HPA/PIH collaboration has sent “100,000 pounds of lifesaving medical supplies” to Haiti.

And more to come.

“They’ve done an amazing job,” Ender said. “It goes to show what online communities can do, and it’s a feather in the cap of social media.”

Albus Dumbledore, no doubt, would be awfully proud.

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7 Responses to Harry Potter Goes To Haiti

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