Sometimes we are lucky enough to see the world tilt a little toward the good. Last night was one of those times.
There was Kyle, riding his horse, Dallas. Alongside were his therapist and his horse handler. He’d just completed a matching and sequencing exercise, concentrating intensely.
He urged the horse forward, using his muscles, and Dallas began to trot gently. Suddenly Kyle was laughing, filling the entire indoor arena with the sound.
“This is music to my ears,” said Kelli, Kyle’s mom.
Kyle completed one six-week session of hippotherapy over the summer. Amy, his therapist, reports that his core strength increased and continues to increase, his balance has improved, and toward the end of the six weeks, she saw (and heard) him vocalizing much more. And at this first night of fall session, he picked right up where he left off, retaining the strength and skill he’d gained.
We at Jacob’s Fund love hippotherapy, because we see the results.
But what we love more than anything is the change that happens to families when their child is at last able to communicate his needs, or to express the pleasure she feels when playing with her brothers and sisters. When a child that could not stand alone walks, that is a miracle. When a little one that could not talk whispers “Good night, Mommy” families’ lives are transformed. When a child gets out of the car at the carpool drop off and is greeted by another child and they walk away hand in hand, an inexorably heavy weight is lifted off a parent’s heart.
We’re thrilled, as we know our GlobalGiving donors are, that Kyle is growing in strength and capability. We eagerly look forward, as you do, to seeing him reach new goals.
But we’re ecstatic that, last evening, as the sun began to set over the rolling hills and farmlands that surround Hilltop Equestrian Center, Kyle, not waiting for his parents to hold his hand, hurried into the barn to find his horse and begin riding.
Independence is a precious gift, especially to people with disabilities. Each time The Red Thread Promise gives an All Terrain Wheelchair (ATW) to an impoverished child, teen or adult in Haiti, we shift the paradigm from immobility toward mobility. Through these gifts—gifts that you have made possible—lives are being changed.
In the US and other countries, many resources are available for people who can't walk:
These opportunities give a wheelchair-bound person the chance to actively engage in life, moving about in their homes, schools and communities.
The scenario is quite different for a person under the same circumstances in a developing country like Haiti:
But there is hope!
We are committed to raising the funds for another full container of wheelchairs that will change more lives. Each shipment holds 100 - 120 ATWs plus maintenance parts. These durable wheelchairs are made from inexpensive bicycle parts that keep the cost low—$350 each—and simplify upkeep and maintenance. They are specifically designed to pass over Haiti's rough terrain, giving independence that most recipients have never experienced.
With your support, we will fill this container and continue giving the gift of mobility to those in need.
*The gross national income per capita in Haiti is US$660. Source: World Bank 2010
Providing a constant source of nutrition is critical for a child’s development. This comes as no big surprise in 2013.
Article after article and study after study confirms that nutrition is directly linked to all aspects of a child’s growth and development, factors that have direct ties to their level of health as adults. We all know that vitamin rich food helps children fight off colds and other illnesses, keeping them healthier longer. It is common knowledge that establishing nutritious eating habits as a child sets the foundation for healthy choices as an adult.
These are such widely accepted concepts, but so challenging to implement for the population this project serves – children with disabilities in Haiti. According to Dr. Charlotte G. Neumann (UCLA School of Public Health), “The combination of malnutrition and infection is the leading cause of death among young children in developing countries. Malnutrition alone is estimated to account for over half of children’s deaths annually. Other leading causes of deaths are malaria, acute respiratory infections, diarrheal disease [cholera], tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS, frequently complicated by varying degrees of malnutrition.”
So, what is The Red Thread Promise doing about it? Everything we can thanks to your continued support.
During each trip, we hand-carry food and snacks to St. Vincent’s Center for Handicapped Children. We prepare meals with the children and staff in their kitchen that often exceeds 110 degrees. When we take St. Vincent’s students to Camp Jake—our annual summer camp for children with disabilities in Haiti—we provide 3 nutritious meals every day for every camper. We teach nutrition classes at camp and work with campers to make healthy choices whenever possible. We teach trades so the children can better support themselves as adults and they are able to purchase healthy food for their families.
That’s what we’re doing about it. We hope you will continue helping us bring food to these precious kids.
Sources: Children’s Heart Center, UCLA School of Public Health / Charlotte G. Neumann, MD, MPH