International award for documentary on Westport aid worker

An RTÉ television documentary, which tells the story of two Irish women and an American medical missionary priest who have spent the last 15 years battling poverty, disease and hunger in Haiti, has won a top award at the 46th Chicago International Film Festival.

 A Hundred Dead People in My Truck received a gold plaque for best social/political documentary at the 2010 Hugo Television Awards in Chicago yesterday (Thursday, April 15 ).

The documentary highlights the extraordinary and inspiring work of Westport-born child care worker Gina Heraty, Dubliner Dr Louise Ivers and the American Passionist priest and doctor, Fr Rick Frechette.

All three work with international medical and childcare charities which have been faced with enormous challenges in the aftermath of the recent earthquakes.

Ms Heraty, from Carrowreevagh, Westport, has worked six days a week for the past 15 years in an orphanage run by the international charity Nos Petits Freres et Soeurs (Our Little Brothers and Sisters ) on the outskirts of Haiti’s capital city. It is home to more than 450 orphaned, abandoned and disadvantaged children. Ms Heraty says the conditions people in Haiti have to live in are harrowing and can only be solved with the expertise and the generosity of countries like Ireland.

 “I don’t see myself as a kind of latter day martyr but I am convinced that there is no other place in the world I can do more to help those who are most in need of help right now. I came to Haiti 15 years ago and if I can improve the life of just one child each day I am here, then my life will have been worthwhile,” she says.

  A Hundred Dead People in My Truck was produced by Caroline Bleahen and presented by Jim Fahy. It was first broadcast on RTÉ in December 2008.

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