Blue Ridge Community College to Bring Help to Haiti - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Blue Ridge Community College to Bring Help to Haiti

Posted: Updated: Jan 18, 2013 09:20 PM EST

Students and teachers from Blue Ridge Community College were in Haiti during the devastating earthquake of 2010. That harrowing experience strengthened their resolve to help the Haitians help themselves.

Enactus, formerly known as Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE), is a group that pioneers projects meant to create jobs and economic sustainability. They head back to Haiti this Sunday with a new name and a new generation of young volunteers.

BRCC students who are members of the Enactus team will go through airport security with stacks of nearly 50-pound bags. They're stuffed with 300 pairs of shoes and much-needed medical supplies for rural Haitians.

"That's just something very essential for us, something that they're not familiar with. Not because they're not smart, just because they're not exposed to it," said Jessica Romero, a member of the Enactus team.

As the five BRCC students and their faculty advisor spend a week in Haiti, they'll illuminate the village of Mon Lopital with D-lights.

"They're solar-powered LED lamps. They're a lot more environmentally friendly than the kerosene lamps the villagers are currently using. And they're a lot more safe," said Cristyn Filla, another team member.

Six-hundred D-lights will be given to a half-dozen entrepreneurs who will rent them to their neighbors, increasing productivity for a region with no power grid.

"As Americans we are very fortunate to have running water and electricity, just the basic things that we think, ‘OK I can just flip on a light switch,'" said team member Storm Butler-Hall.

BRCC pays for the trip, and students raised money for the shoes, medical supplies and solar lights.

"Fortunately we are backed by our entire college, administration; they really support us. Our community supports us," Romero said.

The Enactus team will also visit a school and orphanage they helped design and build, as well as see a general store they helped get off the ground.

The students will be blogging about their experiences in Haiti throughout the weeklong trip, beginning Sunday.

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