J/P HRO tent camp

Photo: George Burns/Harpo Studios

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On January 12, 2010, a 7.0 magnitude earthquake hit Haiti. In an instant, more than 1 million Haitians were left homeless, with little more than the clothes on their backs and torn sheets from their beds for shelter.

Six days later, actor and humanitarian Sean Penn hired a private jet, filled it with doctors, pain medication and antibiotics, and flew to Haiti for what he thought would be a two-week relief effort. At the time, people sought shelter in any open space.

Tens of thousands living in the destroyed Pétitionville neighborhood set up makeshift camps on what was then a privately owned golf course. Sean convinced the government and golf course owner to allow him to take over the camp.

Two years later, Sean Penn is still knee-deep running the nongovernmental organization he called J/P Haitian Relief Organization, known as J/P HRO. The organization manages the tent camp, where originally 60,000 people had been living when Sean first arrived.
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