Protests on the streets of Haiti stopped Gena Heraty from travelling to Dublin to collect her humanitarian of the year award at last night Irish Red Cross awards.

The Westport woman has spent the past 26 years caring for vulnerable young people with disabilities in the Caribbean Island.

The Sunday Independent reports that civil unrest in Haiti against their President Moise made it too dangerous for Gena to fly home this weekend.

Ms Heraty is director and co-founder of a home for 30 young people with neurological disorders within a larger orphanage compound run by a charity at Kenscoff in the hills above Port-au-Prince.

She accepted the award on behalf of all her team working with disabled children in Haiti.

Ms Heraty grew up in the townland of Carrarevaugh, near Liscarney, around 11km from Westport.

After getting a business degree in the University of Limerick, she worked as a volunteer with the homeless with Dublin Simon.

She trained to be a lay missionary and travelled to Haiti where she has worked with the poorest of children as part of the Nos Petits Freres et Soeurs (our little brothers and sisters) charity.

Twenty-six years later, she still works with the most vulnerable and is known all over Haiti for challenging prejudice against people with physical and intellectual disabilities.


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