the Story

Team Zaryen

In the late afternoon of January 12, 2010, an otherwise ordinary day turned into a nightmare, forever changing the tranquil yet volatile nation of Haiti.

A magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck the land that day devastating an already impoverished nation. It wiped out entire villages, and collapsed buildings including the country’s government headquarters. Hundreds of thousands lost their lives, more than one million were displaced, and tens of thousands were injured—including countless children and young people who suffered the loss of limbs.

Against this backdrop, two American organizations stepped in. Despite corruption in the country and the threat of failure, Project Medishare set up clinics to aid the victims, and the Knights of Columbus, an international charitable organization, provided the funding necessary to ensure that prosthetic limbs would be made available for every child amputee. But this was only the beginning of the story.

Amid incredible odds, a small group of earthquake victims became emboldened to defy deeply entrenched Haitian stereotypes against people with disabilities. They formed Team Zaryen, an amputee soccer team that has transformed victims into beacons of hope, creating real possibilities for those attempting to rebuild their lives from the rubble of the 2010 earthquake. Team Zaryen’s dream to give back to those whose efforts helped them get back on their feet stretches all the way to Washington, offering help and inspiration to wounded American veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.

At times a searing analysis of the post-earthquake horrors and Haiti’s turbulent history, and at times a poignant sports story about overcoming insurmountable odds, “Unbreakable: A Story of Hope and Healing in Haiti” is ultimately a powerful reminder of the triumph of the human spirit, and of how the bonds of hope are oftentimes born out of the shackles of despair.