Naomi Gefen is an alumna of the Wexner Israel Fellowship Program (Class 19).  Naomi is the Director of External Affairs and Project Development for ALYN Hospital in Jerusalem.  She can be reached at

We all take for granted, whether in Israel on in the US, our access to water, food, electricity, education and more. For Haitians, these have never been a given. Since January 12th’s earthquake, they have none.

At Alyn Hospital Pediatric Rehabilitation Center in Jerusalem, we knew that our expertise was desperately needed. We responded to the humanitarian call and through ISRA AID and Tevel B Tzedek, sent delegations of therapists to treat the children who suffered severe injuries. 

As the coordinator of the teams I was in constant contact with the other partners and the teams on the ground. My tasks ran from the logistics of ensuring our people arrive in Port au Prince in one piece, to providing a place to put their head down at the end of the day and enough to eat, to guiding and advising their professional  tasks.

Our therapists there worked so hard- seeing 16 patients a day. You could say – a drop of water in an ocean of misery – but for those 16 people this means hope. Hope that they will be able to walk again, hope that they will be able to make themselves a meal, hope that the world has not forgotten about them.

Israel’s field hospital opened in Haiti 89 hours after the earthquake, and Israel continues to care for the future of the less fortunate. 

This experience has given me the chance to use the many tools that I learned in Harvard and to do real “Tikun Olam”. We have the power to give hope to others and we must not turn our backs on them.