Actor Sean Penn is one of the many who reached out to help after the devastating earthquake in Haiti, and Penn has been working in the country ever since to improve conditions.
It’s hard to believe it has been nearly two and a half years since the massive 7.0 quake struck the impoverished nation, and more than 300,000 Haitians perished in the disaster. In the weeks following the tragedy, there was much interest in providing aid to the island nation, but it seems the cause has faded from view despite continuing dire conditions in Haiti.
Sean Penn, however, has continued his humanitarian work in the country, and was honored with a 2012 Peace Summit Award during the World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates earlier this week. The actor, accepting the award, was visibly moved- and his commitment to Haiti’s recovery was referenced when he was introduced. Before Penn spoke, Udo Janz, United Nations high Commissioner for Refugees, said:
“He actually exchanged his home in Malibu for a tent… Think of it as the Oscar for your humanitarian commitment Sean.”
A recent, in-depth profile of the actor’s work in Haiti published in Christian Science Monitor delves into Penn’s extensive work over the years as the nation has struggled to recover from the disaster, and fellow aid work director Benjamin Krause explains that Penn thought of his own children when he decided to go to work helping Haiti:
“Sean turns on the television and sees parents next to children holding their hands as they are having surgeries in the streets with no pain medication whatsoever… It moved him to call up all the people he could to get pain medication lined up and as many medical professionals as possible.”
Accepting the award, Penn said he was “humbled” by the honor.