Connections Across Oceans - Miss Italia and NPH Haiti
Martina Colombari, actress, model, and former Miss Italia, shares the impact that NPH has had on her.
April 10, 2018 - Haiti
Martina Colombari, actress, model, and Italy's youngest winner of the Miss Italia competition, has been a large supporter of 'Francesca Rava Foundation' - NPH Italy - for many years, since her first trip to Haiti in 2008.
She has been very supportive over the past decade, giving help that ranges from sponsorships, to promoting projects at the NPH Saint Damien Hospital, to consistent visits. This year is her 10th trip to NPH Haiti. This time, she is coming to see new progress on projects in the wards, to take new pictures and videos to create awareness for the conditions of Haitian children, and to inaugurate one of the St Luke's clinics linked to Saint Damien: Clinic Martina on Wharf Jeremy. And this time traveling with her, Paola: a volunteer at NPH Italia since many years ago, now the Godmother who sponsors 5 kids in Kenscoff!
Martina Colombari has been interested in the work of NPH and St. Luke since a dinner event organized by NPH Italy after a charity concert at Teatro Alla Scala, which is one of the biggest theaters in Italy. The committee hosting the dinner showed a video of our projects in Haiti; she was touched, inspired and decided to visit Haiti for the first time in February of 2008. Since then, she has continued to visit Haiti every year to witness the progress of the children and programs.
Martina Colombari is currently one of NPH Italy's ambassadors. She frequently speaks at events like these to give testimonial on how the situation is in the country and also share what she has seen on her own visits. She frequently speaks about her own life, realizing that her good fortune, her family who loves her, and her access to day-to-day necessities are a privilege, because there are many others who do not have what she does. That is why she gives of herself to help others who can't afford a better life. She hopes her example inspires anyone who can to follow her example: When you have the privilege to do anything you can or want, help others who can't.
Says Martina, "What impressed me about NPH, is seriousness and concrete work." She shares that seeing concrete results over visits to NPH has made an impact on her - financially sponsoring a project, being invited to visit the project in person, and seeing how it stays running for years. That is what makes NPH different to her.
According to Martina, "Unfortunately, I knew about volunteering too late, I learned about it as an adult. I was not lucky to have my parents teach me about it when I was younger, and if I didn't have my thirteen-year-old son to take care and watch over all the time, then I would even come visit for longer- for even months - because I feel very impressed by what NPH is doing. Especially when I see how hard NPH Italy is working to raise funds to send to the projects in Haiti, and then being able to go to Haiti and see how hard the employees and the leaders work to make the projects happen: This is pleasing to me, and makes me feel that I am living as family with NPH. I know that there are other NPH homes, but I very much like Haiti. That's why I have made my trips back and forth for that many years."
Talking about the goal of our projects in Haiti, NPH Haiti President Father Rick Frechette, CP, DO, comments on how there are the issues that are spoken about internationally - mainly corruption and other political-related dealings - but also, on a more individual level, staggering levels of hunger. According to Martina, "My goal is to see a Haiti where everyone can come and visit. Right now, crime and hunger are everywhere. In my country, some people eat too much, which is not healthy, where elsewhere, others are starving - there should be a balance in the world, and hope to see the true beauty of Haiti shine through."
Martina has many hopes for her future visits to Haiti. To see less abandoned children, to see longer life expectancy. To see people now living under tents or shacks in a home, with enough to eat. To see people who are able to realize their dreams.