Food. Water. Shelter. The three most basic human necessities.
EVERYONE needs them: every country, every race, every gender, every economic position, every social status. These are the foundations for sustaining human life.
Included in that collective everyone are the children at St. Vincent’s Center for Handicapped Children who are near and dear to our hearts. While this project focuses on two of these items -- food and water -- the kids at St. Vincent’s are in crisis and need all three.
Only a few short months ago, the Haitian government informed Fr. Sadoni, St. Vincent’s Director, that they were taking the Center’s property as well as all of the properties on the entire block for use in re-building governmental agencies destroyed in the earthquake. (Note: in Haiti, the government has eminent domain and this is not an uncommon occurance.)
By summer's end, St. Vincent’s would need to re-locate the dormitory for 90 residential students and staff (including the orphans who call St. Vincent’s home), school (serving 250 children), and clinic (serving all of the students and the community). An exhaustive search was launched for a new space. Staying downtown as close to the current location as possible is critical because there are over 150 students who travel to St. Vincent’s school daily from far across Port-au-Prince and beyond. Moving the facility even a few miles in any direction would directly impact many student’s ability to get to school, prohibiting many from attending at all.
In addition, property prices in the city are very high, out of the range of the only school for handicapped children in Haiti. Most of the good properties have been bought by NGOs and others who can afford the exorbitant prices. The search has left Fr. Sadoni breathless with very few affordable choices.
On either side of St. Vincent’s property, buildings have been knocked down until only the Center’s walls and buildings remain, unnerving the children and elevating everyone’s stress levels. In the midst of packing all items that aren’t nailed down and securing them at another less vulnerable location, the Center’s water cistern was stolen off the roof of the water purification center we helped fund a few years ago. Their drinking water supply has been shut off and they are forced to purchase water for the children at a high cost. In desperation, Fr. Sadoni has resorted to sending every child back to their family as he is unable to feed them. Only the orphans and staff remain.
The food frequency varies depending on funding. It costs $6,060 to feed everyone for a month, only $202 per day. Meals consist of an oatmeal porridge or bread in the morning with rice and beans in the afternoon. Nothing more.
There is so much uncertainty in these children’s lives right now. Let’s give them something constant - food and clean water. Through these gifts they will remember that someone cared about them, a gift that will last far beyond any single meal.
We encourage you to share St. Vincent’s plight with your family, friends, employers, civic groups and churches. It takes a village…
Christina is one of the many children we have connected with in Haiti over the years. Her story is nothing short of miraculous and, by supporting this project, YOU have been an integral part of her success.
An otherwise completely healthy infant, Christina was born with a birth defect that caused severe clubbing in both of her feet. Over the years she endured multiple unsuccessful surgeries and castings to correct her condition, after which she was no closer to walking than she was the day she was born.
In 2013, the tides began to change for Christina. No longer would she be resigned to life in a wheelchair, but rather to a newfound hope of planting both feet on the ground (something her condition never allowed her to do) and even walking independently!
Through our partnership with West Tennessee Haiti Partnership (WTHP), Dr. Bheki Khumalo (clubfoot specialist / Memphis, TN) and Dr. Georges Beauvoir (surgeon / Port-au-Prince, Haiti), Christina's first successful surgery was completed in August 2013. The skilled surgical team performed a tendon release, bone and soft tissue correction, and finally a foot rotation on her right.
After her foot healed, Christina's second surgery was completed in February 2014 on her left. When the stiches were removed, she was able to wear a boot and worked with a physical therapist to strengthen her legs.
In April came Christina’s miracle! Our partners from WTHP were conducting a clinic at Christina’s home, St. Vincent’s Center for Handicapped Children in Port-au-Prince. Dr. Jenn and Tiffany (visiting physical therapist and nurse respectively) began stretching Christina's legs and ankles, encouraging her to begin putting weight on her feet. Then it was time for Christina to stand up. With support of each arm, Christina put one foot in front of the other and took THE FIRST STEPS OF HER LIFE!
After 16 years of thinking walking was something unachievable, she was able to take her first steps and one of our partners from WTHP was able to capture it on video - see link below! The footage is raw but heartwarming. Christina is a bright, energetic girl who is well on her way to leading a more normal life now that both feet are corrected. She will continue to work with therapists to walk and become increasingly independent.
Christina may never have taken these steps without your support for which we are eternally grateful. We invite you to continue to be a part of this life-transforming process, helping kids like Christina, kids whose biggest obstacle in life was being born into poverty where adequate medical care isn't an option as their families struggle to put food on the table.
The cost of both surgeries - $3600!
The long-term effects - priceless.
Sweet Princess. It is with heavy hearts that we share that she passed away in the wee hours just past midnight. Yesterday morning, she came through her open heart surgery with no apparent complications. By afternoon, the medical team was already discussing plans for her next procedure in 6 months following her expected recovery. The US host family spent time with her mother, Fabiola, to offer support throughout the day. Yet sometime during the night Princess slipped away. We are confident that the medical team did everything they could for her, but we understand that she was critical due to the nature of her surgery.Tomorrow TRTP VP, Sonya, her children, and a friend will be visiting Princess's mother, Fabiola, to comfort her in any way possible. We are framing the photos that we took of mom and baby 2 days ago and giving them as a gift. We treasure these photos and hope that Fabiola's family will too.If you pray, please say a prayer for the family who is in deep mourning. If you think positive thoughts, please send your energy to them. The mother, father and grandmother's separation from one another at this time must be unbearable. Gifts in both Princess and Jacob's memory are gratefully accepted. With these gifts we will continue to provide hippotherapy for children with disabilities. Thank you as always for your support for all parents that grieve the loss of a child.