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.
The Maison de Benediction continues to do outstanding work! One recent, particularly powerful success story comes to mind:
Robinson was one of our very first children in the Maison. He has a neuro-muscular disability, and one day his mother stopped bringing him to the Maison. We weren’t worried at first, because this is a fairly regular occurrence. Families go to the countryside to visit relatives, or relatives come to visit and take care of the children for a while. But Robinson didn’t come back. Because his mother doesn’t have a permanent address, we couldn’t track her down. We were able to find his estranged father though, who said he had sent Robinson to Port-de-Paix to live with relatives there.
On a visit to a local orphanage some months later, we found Robinson again. He had never left the area. He was hardly recognizable. What was once a happy, plump child now was a neglected, emaciated, atrophied shell of a boy. We have no idea how long he had been confined to his crib, how infrequently he was held or even fed. We were deeply troubled by this.
One of our community health workers managed to find Robinson’s mother, who also thought he was in Port-de-Paix. When we told her what had happened, she broke down. She couldn’t believe what had happened to her son. At this time, she had just given birth to another son and was living with his father, who was physically and emotionally abusive. Because of her situation, she couldn’t leave and was fearful that this was how she would always live.
However, that is not the case. Because of supporters like you, we are able to help Robinson’s mum. We’ve rented a room for her long-term in Quartier Morin and help her with a monthly stipend to ensure she and her children are well-fed and clothed. Once again Robinson stays three days each week with us at the Maison! His bright, smiling (and once again plump) face is a blessing to us and a constant reminder of what we can do with your help.
We can never fully express our gratitude to all of you who help make our mission possible, and we hope you’ll continue to partner with us so that success stories like Robinson continue to happen at the Maison.
Thanks for your continued support, allowing us to care for some of Haiti's most vulnerable children.
Just today, we had one joyful guardian visit us. Her child, Mary, used to be part of the project, coming to us as a very withdrawn, and troubled little girl. This little one had lost her mum, and was distanced from her father who moved abroad. Mary's troubled start to life, and developmental delay, caused serious concerns to her new guardian, who wondered whether she'd ever recover. Thanks to the continuous love and therapy of our staff, slowly Mary completely transformed, as little by little a beautiful little smile blossomed. Her guardian visited today sharing how Mary was now attending school, and doing brilliantly! She's just one example of the many lives being transformed through this work!
In our last report we shared the difficult financial situation we were facing to continue running this service which cares for children like Mary, and we'd like to share a special thanks to all those who responded. Thankfully, due to the generous support of our loyal supporters, we've been able to keep the Maison de Benediction running, which has been predominantly due to the kind support of our monthly donors who are part of the Beni Sponsorship Programme.
Beni means 'blessing' in creole, and that's exactly what our supporters are! So far, we've had 56 people sign up to become a regular monthly donor of this project, and we now have a new challenge. We're looking to find another 56 people who can help keep this respite home open. If we succeed in our challenge, then the centre will have enough funds to continue running in the years to come, and what a blessing to children like Mary that would be!
If you've ever been inspired or encouraged by this work, please consider becoming a regular supporter. Not only do you get to become an official Beni Sponsor, but you get the chance to receive personal updates on one specific child. To find out more, please visit our web site today. Equally, if you don't feel able to do this, please consider making another one off donation through GlobalGiving. We want to keep helping other children like Mary, ensuring they have the future they deserve. Thanks for all your kind support.
The ‘Maison de Benediction’ continues to provide respite care for disabled children, offering specialised education and medical care for the children, and the time to be able to work or attend education themselves for the families. A Community outreach project was started two years ago, and continues to thrive. Team members go out into the communities, to locate children who would benefit from the services we offer, but also to meet with community and religious groups to advocate for the rights of disabled people, educating leaders and groups on disabilities and encouraging communities to accept and include disabled people into active community life as equals. In Haiti, this can be a paradigm-shifting message, where a common term for the disabled in the local language is ‘cocobai’, which literally translates as ‘worthless’. Disabilities are often viewed as a curse, and the families of disabled people can feel compelled to abandon or hide their disabled family members.
Funding has been difficult this year, with the loss of two partners through financial difficulties – which have, in turn, affected our financial capacity for this project. The number of days that the centre runs has been reduced to 4 days per week, and our community-based respite care has had to be put on hold – although our community outreach work continues, through the support of the Baptist Church. We have launched a child sponsorship programme called ‘Beni’ (Haitian creole for ‘blessing’), which invites you to be a blessing to an individual child by supporting the work of the centre. We ask for a regular commitment of £10, £15 or £20 per month – and you can find out more information from our website.
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