Port-au-Prince, Haiti (CNN)In the immediate aftermath of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti that left 220,000 people dead and 1.5 million displaced, the world responded, pledging more than $13 billion in aid to the devastated country. It was an extraordinary number, and one that still gets Dr. Paul Farmer a little choked up.
As we recently sat in a Port-au-Prince park, which housed thousands in tents after the earthquake, Farmer told me he believed the earthquake had awakened a “latent altruism” in human beings.
A big driver of this altruism is “humans, young or old, are pretty good at recognizing injustice when they see it,” he added, and they reflexively want to fix it. His comment really captured my imagination and set me on an exploration for the origins of altruism.
Programming note: CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta introduces us to leaders and volunteers behind inspiring organizations in a one-hour, prime-time special airing Saturday, June 17, at 9 p.m. ET on CNN.