IAADFS Women in Travel chapter raises more than $3,700 for children in Haiti, Guatemala

Katrin Sternberg, left, Danzka Vodka Copenhagen APS, and Laura Kidd, China International Duty Free, network at the Women in Travel breakfast, which raised more than $3,700 for Hand in Hand for Haiti.

Katrin Sternberg, left, Danzka Vodka Copenhagen APS, and Laura Kidd, China International Duty Free, network at the Women in Travel breakfast, which raised more than $3,700 for Hand in Hand for Haiti.

Nearly 120 women attended the annual Women in Travel (WIT) breakfast Tuesday morning, which doubled as a fundraiser for Hand in Hand for Haiti, an organization the IAADFS chapter of WIT has partnered with since the catastrophic earthquake that struck the country in 2010.

A raffle and silent auction of items donated from exhibitors raised more than $3,700. A portion of the funds will support Escuela de la Calle (EDELAC), which translates to School of the Street. IAADFS selected the school as the charity for its inaugural Fun Run/Walk.

Kristy Westrup, senior merchandise manager for Starboard Cruise Services, gave an update on the work of Hand in Hand for Haiti. In Haiti, where 80 percent of the population lives on less than $2 a day, the Hand in Hand for Haiti school opened with 150 students ages 3 to 5 in 2011. It provides them with free education, two nutritious meals a day, and health care.

“Just this year, due to the support in this room and other travel retail industry leaders, we’ve raised enough money to open the first world-class sports complex, thanks to Duty Free Dubai. We’ve raised more than $1.7 million since the charity opened,” Westrup said. “Thanks to everyone in this room as well as the travel industry, our school will house in the future more than 720 students, who are the future of our world.”

The school’s campus, situated on donated land about 60 miles outside of Port-au-Prince, includes preschool, primary and secondary schools, a computer room, music rooms, library, sports complex, a clinic, and an administration building.

Lois Pasternak, editor and publisher of Travel Markets Insider, led the event.

Lois Pasternak, editor and publisher of Travel Markets Insider, led the event.

Lois Pasternak, editor and publisher of Travel Markets Insider, said she’s thrilled with the progress and success of the school.

“It’s wonderful,” she said. “We have an emotional connection to the Hand in Hand for Haiti school. If anything is going to pull up the country, this is it.”

Margarita Floris, president of Savvy Traveler, and Tina Aldatz, CEO, also spoke during the event, which Pasternak said was another success.

“As a networking endeavor, it has just been incredibly successful,” Pasternak said. “I would say at least 30 percent of the women who were here today said it was the first time they’ve attended.”