Remembering is Kind. Action is Divine.

Written by in Books, Color & Texture, Inspire, Social Good

January 12, 2010:
The Haiti Quake 

Six years seems a long time ago. Unless you are still reliving it. In January 12, 2010, a quake centered near Port Au Prince, Haiti brought widespread destruction and death to the Caribbean Basin.  The victims are not forgotten by designer Marek Hosek and the nonprofit Art for Health. Together, they continue to raise funds to support medical relief and clinical staff education in three nations. Forgetting is common. Remembering is kind. Direct action that helps alleviate past, current, and future suffering is divine. Robin Salter reports on the program today.


In September 2013, Against the Grain covered the compassionate effort and work of designer Marek Hosek and his firm MHDezign. Their campaign helped raised money for medical supplies to help victims of the January 12, 2010, earthquake in Haiti which left more than 100,000 dead and destroyed more than 250,000 homes.

The program was called Art for Haiti, but after adding the Dominican Republic to their mission, the nonprofit became known as Art for Health, a 501c3. Hosek remains involved with both design and art curation, and a committee runs the day to day operations of the non-profit. By 2015, these efforts have helped heal thousands in Haiti, the Dominican Republic, and Belize.

What began with Hosek’s trip to Haiti after the earthquake to aid and photo document the destruction, grew into an annual fundraising event to benefit quake ravaged nations. Reviewing numerous photos taken in these countries, Hosek knew the world needed to see them. His first thought was an exhibition, but he then decided to make a photobook that could be sold to raise relief funds. Partnering with the Global Health Program through Rush University in Chicago, funds were raised to produce the book. Then another. And another.

In total, the organization has hosted five events and raised more than $225,000 to support medical relief. “What we see and feel is expressed in diverse expressions we share in these books. The images celebrate the vibrancy and resilience of the human spirit,” says Hosek.

Remembering:  Quake Stats and Impact

(Source: Disaster Emergency Committee (DEC) England: dec.org.uk/articles/haiti-earthquake-facts-and-figures)

  • 7.0 Magnitude Quake struck near Port au Prince
  • 3,500,000 people were affected by the quake
  • 220,000 people estimated to have died
  • 300,000+ people were injured
  • Over 188,383 houses were badly damaged and 105,000 were destroyed by the earthquake (293,383 in total), 1.5m people became homeless
  • After the quake there were 19 million cubic metres of rubble and debris in Port au Prince – enough to fill a line of shipping containers stretching end to end from London to Beirut.
  • 4,000 schools were damaged or destroyed
  • 25% of civil servants in Port au Prince died
  • 60% of Government and administrative buildings, 80% of schools in Port-au-Prince and 60% of schools in the South and West Departments were destroyed or damaged
  • Over 600,000 people left their home area in Port-au-Prince and mostly stayed with host families
  • At its peak, one and a half million people were living in camps including over 100,000 at critical risk from storms and flooding
  • Unrelated to the earthquake but causing aid response challenges was the outbreak of cholera in October 2010. By July 2011 5,899 had died as a result of the outbreak, and 216,000 were infected

Against the Grain salutes the caring action of Art for Health. Remembering those in need means continuing to care and act upon that concern in tangible ways. We believe that creative professionals — art directors, writers, designers, photographers, illustrators — are uniquely qualified to lend their talents to ensure the world does not forget the devastation of the January 2012 quake.


Tangible Artifacts Connect: Paper Helps

Proceeds from the auction and sale of books and art go to scholarships and the infrastructure of the clinic and other public health projects in the region.

Paper Specs for Postcards, Invitation Booklet and Sleeve:
•  Neenah Paper CLASSIC CREST® Epic Black Cover
•  Neenah Paper STARDREAM® Papers in Copper, Gold and Silver


  1. 01
    Babs Waldman said:

    As a member of the medical team that works with Art for Health, I want to thank Neenah Paper for their support over the past 5 years. Neenah has generously discounted their beautiful products allowing us to create and distribute unique invitations and posters of the highest quality. Thank you.

  2. 01
    Matt Porter said:

    What a very kind and thoughtful note. Thank you, Ms. Waldman. It is a great project made greater by your team’s dedication and long memory. Kindness pays.