Richmond Hill Honourees 2022
Harry Harakh, MBA, CPA, CA, President and founder (along with a few others) of Caribbean North Charities Foundation (CNCF), and his wife Pamela Harakh, Vice President of CNCF, have a long history of philanthropy in York Region and abroad. Caribbean North Charities Foundation (originally Guyana Burn and Healthcare Charitable Foundation) was established in 1998 in response to the lack of adequate medical care for burn victims in Guyana and the Caribbean. Since then, the foundation has raised money and equipment in Canada to create the Guyana Burn Care Unit, the first of its kind in the Caribbean where patients can receive proper medical attention and skin reconstruction.
The organization is also involved with non-burn-related healthcare. They have developed a program to educate Guyanese nurses on neonatal care for at-risk newborns in accordance with the Canadian Paediatric Society’s standards. CNCF sends medical equipment such as beds, mattresses, IV pumps, and ECG machines to hospitals in Guyana. All equipment is generously donated by their major partner, the Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre.
The Harakhs began this impactful journey with volunteer doctors and nurse burn specialists at Sunnybrook’s Ross Tilley Burn Centre, where they transitioned an assembly of rooms into a specialized burn care unit, modeling policies, procedures, and treatment protocols specific to the Caribbean. Surgical equipment and critical care components were introduced, all of which were either donated in Ontario, as well as room equipment, early supplies, and ongoing nursing burn care education. According to a public report, this unit has saved many lives; forty percent more serious burn victims have survived, the average length of hospital stay was reduced, and these patients were able to return home. Incredibly, the initial expenditure of donated funds was about US$275,000.
Pamela and Harry do not characterise their numerous outreach programs as giving back but, more importantly, improving the human conditions. Other tremendous examples of this include assisting orphanages; helping seniors manage through the pandemic; partnering with the Richmond Hill Soccer Club to introduce the game to more youths through an after-school program; and Pamela mentoring a diverse group of female co-op students to help them gain valuable experience about non-profits, accounting, management reporting, project proposals, self-improvement, and much more.
Every success along the way is considered momentous to Pamela and Harry. Their reward is seeing positive changes implemented. They greatly respect and appreciate the partnerships they have with their Guyana Burn Care Unit, Emergency Medical Services and paramedics (who donate ambulances), York Regional Police, York Region District School Board, and Richmond Hill Soccer Club.
Feeling blessed by all their children, grandchildren, friends—and their accomplishments—the Harakhs continue to embrace life, accepting that much has changed, and truly hoping for world peace some day.