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The project New Beginnings for Haiti will be bringing appropriate technologies to an orphanage in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, this January, and Asheville-based videographer Kurt Mann be there documenting the work.
Mann and Outreach Coordinator Leah Quintal will accompany engineers and development officials on Jan. 3, 2011 on a visit to the New Life Childrens Home Orphanage to install energy and water retrofits and establish baseline usage statistics. The project is an effort of United for a Sustainable America. The project goal is to create a replicable program for other Haitian sites while helping the kids at the orphanage.
The Orphanage will serve as a staging ground to test and showcase culturally appropriate sustainable technologies like solar energy, composting toilets, solar food cookers, hand water pumps, and UV water filtration systems.
New Life Children’s Home founder Miriam Frederick has worked in Haiti for over 20 years. “We currently house around one hundred and fifty children, but there are many more who are suffering that need our help,” Mrs. Frederick explains, “To become more self-sufficient—to potentially create our own energy—that’s the difference between light for a day versus light for a couple hours. It’s light for kids at school…it’s light for doctors saving lives.”
Mann and his American Green documentary team has already begun filming and intends to document project challenges and discoveries over the coming year. "As storytellers, this project is particularly exciting due to its ability to directly impact the lives of Haitians and Americans alike," says AG founder and documentary filmmaker Kurt Mann, "To see Americans coming to the aid of their neighbors, even when times are tough for them, is really at the core of the American spirit. We want to see how that story unfolds."
Mann has produced this video introduction:
American Green Media will be documenting the January expedition with the hopes of joining groups that will be working at the orphanage throughout the year. American Green is partnering with United for a Sustainable America - based in Tampa, Florida. The documentary program will be support through donations — which can be made at http://www.newbeginngingsforhaiti. com. All funds donated will be used to document the efforts to build infrastructure at the Orphanage sustainably with systems that use sun, wind and culturally appropriate technologies.
American Green Media has been based in Asheville North Carolina since 2007. The Founder, Kurt Mann, has made Asheville his home since 1991. Mann has been producing mini-documentaries and marketing films for government, non profits and businesses. Mann has also taken time to work pro bono to educate the public on a variety of environmental and social justice issues.
During the summer of 2009, Mann joined a group of WNC environmentalists to occupy a mountaintop removal dragline in West Virginia. His gear was confiscated and media stolen and he and the protestors were arrested. Luckily he snuck media out while he was in jail and images of the protest and the mountaintop removal site was put online.That direct action and the footage that was released emboldened many to continue the fight against Massey Energy and Mountaintop removal.
During the summer of 2010 Mann and a small crew documented the preparations of the Florida Keys community as they prepared for the worst and hoped for the best during the Gulf Oil Spill disaster.
Outreach Coordinator Leah Quintal joined American Green after a year of service with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service at their Training Center in West Virginia. "I've always been interested in the intersection of science and communication," she says. "In Haiti we'll explore that intersection as we film organizations who are using solar technologies like cookers and water purifiers to teach kids science. It's pretty incredible."