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Today is apparently the bluest Monday of the year according to Dr Cliff Arnall, psychologist and former tutor at Cardiff University.  Bad weather, credit card bills and failure to keep up those New Year resolutions are among some of the reasons today has been dubbed the most depressing day of the year.

Having spent the last week listening to and watching the reports regarding the Haiti earthquake though, I can’t help thinking, that we have got it good.  So today instead of worrying about unprecedented snowfall, low grit reserves in view of snow forecast for Wednesday, bills post Christmas, a coup against Gordon Brown’s leadership and whether or not the fitness regime has lasted nearly 21 days to form a new habit of behaviour; my focus will be on the positives to come out of the untold human suffering that has no doubt touched so many of us recently through the power of media.

  • Concern Worldwide aid workers distributed 2,000 jerry cans and 100,000 water purification tablets (Sunday).
  • Save the Children gave water, food and hygiene supplies to 2,000 people at a hospital (Saturday).
  • 1,000 families received water and clothing kits from World Vision, who spent Saturday distributing emergency supplies.
  • A British Red Cross convoy has reached Haiti by road from the Dominican Republic, bypassing the devastated airport and port. Trucks containing emergency response equipment and medical supplies and personnel were expected to reach the most affected areas on Saturday evening, and a 300-bed field hospital is being set up.
  • The DEC Haiti Earthquake Appeal total for the UK has increased to £15 million as the public response to the disaster continues in strength.  Web and phone donations to the DEC Haiti Earthquake Appeal over the past 24 hours have added a further £3m to the £12m already raised.

Examples of what donations will go to, include:

  • £25 will supply a kit of household essentials.
  • £50 buys a food pack to feed a family for a fortnight.
  • £100 provides temporary shelter for two families.

To make a donation to the DEC Haiti Earthquake Appeal visit www.dec.org.uk or call 0370 60 60 900, donate over the counter at any post office or high street bank, or send a cheque made payable to ‘DEC Haiti Earthquake Appeal’ to ‘PO Box 999, London, EC3A 3AA’.

Looking beyond the immediate, crucial needs – water, food, medicines, and tents – the sheer scale of the devastation means that reconstruction will be from the bottom up and not just confined to physical building.

One idea, starting right at the individual micro level would be the transformable packaging that Seoul design studio Unplug Design have designed which is an aid package that can be turned into different  types of balls such as a football, baseball and handball.

Called the Dreamball project – Unplug Design Studio, based in Seoul include Hwang kung chan, Jin song kyou, Lee hak su, Han min hyun and Jun jin.

Unplud Design Studio’s ethos: ‘Pull out the plug from the system and plug in the community’

Dream ball is a brand new soccer ball, which is made by recycling famine relief packaging.  Buying a soccer ball is a luxury for children living in third world countries; they usually make one out of ropes and trash.  Aid provided from the UN and Red Cross to people living the third world is usually packaged in boxes containing medication, food and other fundamental commodities.

Unplug Design’s aim is to give something that will put a smile on children’s faces, a toy that can give them hope and joy. They have redesigned relief packaging in a way that after it has served its primary purpose; it can turn into different types of balls depending on the size of the boxes.

They are made by simply cutting by hand the perforated cardboard boxes and weaving the pieces together.  Lovely!!

With 50% of Haiti’s population under 21, it has the vitality of youth to shape and inspire its future and what better way to start by combining relief aid, sport and play as a therapy for rebuilding its delicate communities.

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