Hungarian divers held a fundraising event at Budapest's Aquaworld to help victims of the terrible earthquake in Haiti. Donation went to the Hungarian Baptist Aid (HBAid), chanelled instantly to Port-au-Prince.
When the earth trembled in Haiti on January 12 this year, the small island was preparing for the Carnival season. Normally, the traditional 3-day carnival is the most festive time of the whole year for the Haitian people, when, for a short period, everyone is equal and hierarchy is abolished. Ironically, the 7.0-magnitude earthquake did not sort out poor and rich, black or white either: everyone suffered losses. This year’s carnival theme was supposed to be ‘Building a New Path’. The previously bustling capital city of Haiti and the nation grieve but is also preparing for the restart, to literally build that “new path.” Hungarian divers have decided to contribute to the reconstruction of the island and organized a unique fundraising event. “The program took place in Budapest's Aquaworld, which provided the venue free of charge,” says Károly Kabáts, manager of Budapest’s HungaroRaft Dive Center, PADI scuba diving instructor and organizer of the event. “So, this time, we dived for, and not in Haiti, during a family diving day,” he continues. Some 200 scuba divers competed in the pools during the event and the public was also able to try diving under the supervision of professionals. Diving equipment and accessories went into auction to complete the earthquake relief donation.
The total amount of HUF 480,000 was pledged finally and was handed over to HBAid President Sándor Szenczy and HBAid CEO Béla Szilágyi. The money was then sent to contribute to the construction of an orphanage. “It is not much, but it shows that noble goals really move people,” notes Kabats, who had less than a week to work out and put his brainchild ‘Dive for Haiti’ program together. “The Hungarian divers were among the firsts who have supported the earthquake-stricken island of Haiti. Even Hungarian divers in Egypt, Indonesia and Mexico announced to join the charity program, diving at several different venues worldwide at the same time,” Kabáts adds, explaining that Haiti was considered a paradise for the scuba divers’ community. “It is our interest, in the end of the day, that the impoverished Caribbean nation should revive its country, so it will be again, a hot spot for tourism as it used to be.”