More than a year has passed since an earthquake ravaged Haiti, and, as is sadly the case with disasters like this, the focus of the world has shifted elsewhere, despite the fact that the recovery effort is still very much ongoing.
But one group who hasn’t forgotten about the Haitian people is [artist id="960856"]Linkin Park[/artist], who, through their Music for Relief charity — and in conjunction with the United Nations Foundation — are working to bring light to the nation … literally. They’ve begun a program to build solar-powered lights in many displacement camps (which are home to more than 1 million Haitians), and last week, though they were set to film a video for their new single “Iridescent,” the band sent bassist Dave “Phoenix” Farrell down to Port-au-Prince to check on the progress.
“I just got back from Haiti last night,” Farrell said on the Los Angeles set of “Iridescent.” “I had gone over there to check on what we had been working on with Music for Relief, in conjunction with the United Nations Foundation. We’ve basically been working to install some solar-powered lighting in some of the camps there … the camp in particular that we visited had 40,000 people … and no electricity.
“So, at night, women and children are very susceptible to violence, rape, all kinds of really awful things, even when they’re doing something as simple as trying to go to use the latrines, the restrooms, et cetera,” Farrell continued. “We’ve been putting solar-powered lighting in strategic areas, and we’ve found that not only has that lowered the crime rate, but it’s given the camps a place where kids can go and play in the evenings, and, in addition to that, we have students studying and reading at the lights at night.”
And though Farrell said that he was “amazed” by the resiliency and spirit of the Haitian people, he realizes that bringing the nation back from the brink is an ongoing process — one that’s going to take a lot longer than most could imagine. But, with his bandmates, the U.N. and his fellow musicians at his side, Farrell is confident that, eventually, Haiti will recover.
“We’ve always felt like music is a very inspiring and uniting force, and with Music for Relief, we’ve always wanted it to be something that’s more,” he said. “It’s not supposed to be ‘Linkin Park for Relief’: It is really supposed to be ‘Music for Relief.’ We’ve always felt that with a united group of people, you can do a lot more than just as individuals.”