Simon arrived at the Maison de Benediction (our children’s respite home) in March of this year. He had been referred to us by friends of the hospital, Second Mile, an organisation which provides education and care for malnourished children and their mothers. Simon’s mum has learning difficulties and despite going through the programme at Second Mile three times, Simon was not putting on weight when he was at home and it became obvious that his mother was unable to care for him.
Simon also has minor learning difficulties and Nancie, the head of the Maison de Benediction was contacted to find a foster mother for him, as his mother agreed that she should give him up. Simon was registered in the foster care system, and Jennie, a warm mother of two offered to foster Simon. When he first came to the Maison at 13 months, he was severely underweight and was unable to support himself. Under the diligent care of the Maison carers, weekly assessments from the chief medical director at the hospital and loving home with Jennie, Simon has been able to thrive. Now as he approaches his second birthday he is a happy, healthy boy, sitting by himself who loves playing with the other children at the Maison.
The hospital also had its first surgical team come to perform minor surgeries last month, and one of the beneficiaries was Freddie, an eight year-old from the Maison. He had had a painful abscess on his neck for a week, however the surgical team were able to drain it and within the space of an afternoon, Freddie was feeling a lot better. This is why we are hugely grateful to all our supporters, especially those that come and share their medical expertise with our Haitian staff and serve our patients.
On behave of all of our team, and the patients we are privileged to serve, thank you for making 2014 a wonderful year. We hope you will feel encouraged by the difference you have made. May we close by wishing you a very happy Christmas and a peaceful New Year.
With much love and thanks
All the HHA team
In the last month, one of our long term staff called Mdm Woo Woo retired from the respite centre, after serving this project for 5 years. Mdm Woo Woo's story has been inspirational, and we wanted to share a little bit about this incredible lady!Firstly, at her leaving party she powerfully shared how this respite centre had brought joy back into her life. We often reflect on the impact this project has on the children we care for, but often don't reflect on the same impact it has on the staff. A week after the devastating earthquake in 2010, we traveled to Port au Prince and picked up Mdm Woo Woo and her family from a community left in rubble. The terrifying and tragic ordeal had understandably left them traumatised. This ordeal was made even more tragic a few weeks later, when Mdm Woo Woo's grandchild died in a mud slide in the city where we work, due to torrential rain.Such a tragic season understanably left her feeling like she'd lost joy in life, perhaps forever. However, upon arriving at the respite centre, she found life again. Whilst serving and offering her life to these precious children, it was their joy, love and friendship that restored and changed her life.Another reason her story is so inspirational, is the sacrificial way in which she worked, which was driven by love, and not money. She would almost always be found hours after her shift had officially finished, still playing with the children, dancing and singing. She exclaimed at her leaving party that caring for these children had been a great privilege. That previliege is something we can all share in! Mdm Woo Woo's life is just one of many, which has been transformed thanks to your support.If we could all support this work with the same humility, sacrifice and joy as Mdm Woo Woo, think how many lives we could change together! Could you share this project with your friends and family, so we can bring more joy to Haiti? Thanks for your continued love and support, and stay encouraged by the lives being changed.
In the last 8 months or so, many of our supporters have been touched by the story of a special little girl called Judeline, who was featured in our last resport. It was with great sadness that Judeline sadly passed away a few months ago. Despite showing such incredible courage, and some signs of improvement thanks to the care of our medical team, the disability she faced was too severe to overcome in Haiti.
Most reports we seek to send out, are generally full of the more positive aspects of our work. Areas of our work which excite people by the progress, and there is of course lots to be excited about! However, at the same time, we believe it's also important to reflect on some of the tragic and stark realities of Haiti, which remind us of why we're doing this work, and why your support is so critical.
Despite making such significant progress in supporting children with disabilities in Haiti, many children like Judeline still die everyday. The majority of these deaths could be avoided, if only improved health care was provided. Within the context of Haiti, Judeline was given the best chance she could have had. However, the care she really needed is still absent in this country. With the right support, critically needed new health developments can be implemented in Haiti and through our work. That's why we would urge you to continue supporting this work. Your support has helped save so many children over the years, and together we can improve things even more, and ensure that other children like Judeline are given the fighting chance they deserve. Thank you for your continued compassion and generosity.
This week we'll be working with Team Canada: Healing Hands for Haiti, to help distribute over 100 children’s wheelchairs for kids across North Haiti! Most of the children who'll get these chairs will have never received a wheelchair before, and it's literally going to transform their lives!
Another little one whose life has been dramatically transformed in the last few weeks thanks to your care, is Judeline. Judeline was abandoned at our Pediatric Unit about 6 months ago, severely malnourished and suffering from hydrocephalus (which is a condition where fluid builds on the brain.) Through our respite home, we've provided her with a foster mum who lovingly comes to the hospital every day to provide care for Judeline. Her love and dedication is wonderful and inspiring to see. However, due to her condition, it's been a hard and slow fight to save her.
However, two weeks ago we received a specialist speech therapist from the UK, who spent hours working with Judeline to help her start feeding. After lots of delicate support, our volunteer helped Judeline feed for the first time! She's now steadily improving, as we try and increase her strength so she can move from the hospital to our respite scheme.
Judeline is just one of two new children who've sadly been abandoned into our care in the last few months. We have amazing foster families who want to care for these children, but would greatly value your support enabling us to equip them with the resources to do so. Please continue to help us provide this critical care.
Thanks to your incredible support, our respite home continues to flourish! It's not only the children who are supported, but their parents to.
In the last month, one of the most desperate mothers we've met has started working at the respite centre, and its changed her life! We first met her when she was living as a single mum with her profoundly disabled child, in an old dis-used school as a squater. Their room was tiny...a dimly lit, bare concrete shack, with hardly any light. On one occassion we found her there, literally close to death, having had an emergency maternity situation at home without any support. For some she was a hopeless case, literally living on the edge of life every day, in a dark room which her child hardly ever left. Often she would dissapear, as she was kicked out of one place, and moved on to another. A lonely, isolated figure, with no support.
However, thanks to your support, this little families future has been transformed. Her child is getting respite care with us, and she's now working for the centre! Our community team have also found her a local family to live with, so she has a permanent home, a community to support her, and a job to provide a future for her and her child. The joy, pride and hope re-ignited within this mother is incredibly moving. In this case, it was not only a child who you helped save, but a mother also.
If our community team hadn't visited her house after that maternal emergency, she may well have died. We are passionate about kids and their mums! In fact, the majority of the children we care for have been left disabled because their mums gave birth at home without any medical support. We're looking to change this, and have recently launched our Christmas campaign - A Royal Birth, which is seeking to give mothers and babies a safe birth this Christmas. Please visit www.aroyalbirth.org to find out how you can help save more women and children today. We need your help.
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