A few weeks ago, a little girl called Esther with cerebral palsy had been abandoned by the rubbish dump on the main road in Cap-Haitien. It was a sad reminder of the reality of living with disability in Haiti, and we can’t help but wonder what her little mind and heart must be feeling having been left by a pile of rubbish. It’s easy to presume that it’s simple neglect, but from our experience the causes are often much deeper and more tragic. It’s normally incredibly poor mothers, with limited support networks, in seemingly hopeless situations, not knowing whom to turn too. We’ve now found a foster family for Esther as we do with all children who are abandoned at our centre.
That’s why community outreach is a huge element of our work. We have a team of 6 outreach workers who reach out into the community and provide support for families with disabilities. This includes providing pastoral support within the homes of families who are struggling, and making sure they’re connected with appropriate support. These teams also advocate for child rights within the community, and link with schools, churches and other community groups to develop a more inclusive society.
Furthermore, our children’s home “Maison de Benediction” has been extended to include Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR) that challenges the issues of disability within the communities close to the home. In the end of August, the CBR team organised a conference for school teachers in Haiti. We ran a two-day conference for 50 schools and 150 teachers training them how to include disabled children in the classroom. Children with disabilities are denied basic education in Haiti as classrooms are not inclusive. It is normal for teachers to whip children for lack of co-operation or bad behaviour. The session on positive behaviour management was a completely new concept especially as teachers normally use the bible to back up their beating of children.
On September 21 st we received an International Team of Orthopaedic surgeons to assess 54 of the disabled children we have identified within the community. This event was a combination of the work of the Community Based Rehabilitation of the Children’s Home and the Rehabilitation Ward at the hospital. Although the Rehab building was only completed the week before this was an ideal opportunity to put it into use for this important day. This work is made possible because of the integrated approach HHA has to disability and rehabilitation, we believe that we can bring life changing interventions through this work to the many children who would otherwise have no access to surgery or prosthetics.
If you’d like to help transform the lives of some of these children please make a donation towards this project today. It is only thanks to you that such positive change is being made! Thanks again and please keep up the great support.
A huge thanks to all those who have supported our children's work in Haiti! It makes a massive difference and we really appreciate all your love and support!
In the last few months we've seen some huge changes which we thought you'd like to know about. Solar power now supports the Maison de Benediction and our hospital, providing about 80% of our energy needs! This makes it a more workable and productive environment for our projects to grow in, and a safer environment for the children.
The last months have also seen a very welcome refurbishment to the children’s home which has included the opening of a new sensory room to meet the developmental needs of the children. Many of the children we care for are so severely disabled, that we wanted to invest in this specialist equipment to provide them the most suitable environment to grow in. With a mix of lights, sensory toys, fiber optics, a ball pool, and soft play mats, it's the perfect environment for many of our children to develop, and a long term dream come true.
In addition to the exciting new sensory room, the home has been re-painted and re-tiled! Our school room is looking bright and cheerful, we have new disability accessible ramps around the site (a rarity in Haiti), a basket ball net for wheelchair basketball and much more!
The kids are loving the new home and with over 100 children on the scheme there's plenty more work to be done! Perhaps the best way to see how you've helped support a range of changes is through a recent film our team in Haiti made. It's only short and is definitely a good use of two minutes of your time. Check it out now: http://haitihospitalappeal.org/news/2011/06/change/
If you'd like to continue supporting this urgent work, please contact us today or make a donation via Globalgiving. It's only thanks to you that such positive change is being made! Thanks again, and please keep up the great support.
A huge thanks to all those who have supported our Children's work in Haiti! It makes a massive difference and we really appreciate all your love and support!
For those of you who don't have the opportunity to visit our web-site much, to give you a little flavor, we thought we'd share an extract of a recent news post which shows just what an impact you're making. It's a little article by a community leader who's village is from your support!
'Through HHA, we have obtained psychological and social support in a way to accept our children and love them. In our community the families who have at least one handicapped child are considered like cursed parents and these ones hid the children at a corner and didn’t socialize them or didn’t show them love. When such people become young persons, other children throw rocks on them through the streets in the locality, and bother them calling them by the disability they have.
The parents have been always put into shame with such children, that’s why they didn’t really socialize those kids, every one could stop and look at them sadly or contemptuously . From now on, in the village there is a new understanding about how we can treat people with a cerebral palsy problem, with autism, with any kind of handicap.
The work helps the parents too on an economical point of view, not only did some parents neglect those children on purpose, but some parents because they don’t have lots of economical opportunities and were obliged to neglect the disabled children in order to care for the rest of their families.
The whole families feel a handicapped child like a burden. For example, when they want to care for this child, some of the parents neglect their occupations to stay and look after them which causes a huge deficit in the economical life of the families.
Through this work the parents find more space and time to go and trade, to teach etc. They feel supported in their heavy-loaded burdens and in their stress.
With the presence of HHA, since September we are helping these kids, they are given care, teachings, physiotherapy, good hygienic treatment three days a week, and daily feeding too, some are given baby carriers, wheelchairs, boots, and the like. Every one who is affected in the work is very proud of it, the children, the parents and the workers.'
If you'd like to continue supporting this urgent work, please contact us today or make a donation via Globalgiving. We hope you like the photo's as well - apologies if they're poor quality. They were sent from Haiti via e-mail.
Thanks for all your help and we look forward to working with you further through out 2011.
2010 was without doubt the hardest year Haiti Hospital Appeal has ever faced. The tragic events of the earthquake in the first weeks of last year shook the world, and for a few short months Haiti rested upon the hearts of many nations. Yet for HHA, we have been blessed with a support network of people who have remained broken for this nation beyond the initial trauma, and helped achieve some incredible things. For this commitment and support we are deeply grateful, and can’t possibly thank you enough for your love throughout the last 12 months, or put into words the difference you’ve made.
Thank you for your continued support on our Children's Home and Outreach Project in North Haiti. This project has enabled us to establish and develop two children's homes that provide vital support to children with physical and mental special needs. We provide a real family atmosphere where children are growing day by day. We are amazed at how much progress the children have made.
Many of you will remember the story of our finding her abandoned, severely malnourished and suffering from hydrocephalus at the end of 2009, which was mentioned in the previous project report. Supported through HHA and Cure International, Grace was provided with an urgent and lifesaving operation that has given her a new lease of life. Because of the impact of such dedicated and compassionate staff at Maison de Benediction, she is now unrecognisable from when she was first found. She is a regular attendee of Maison de Benediction, adopted within a wonderful foster family. Grace is just one example of the difference you have made in 2010. Despite many feeling that we would only be able to offer palliative care to this desperate girl, one year on she has been completely transformed thanks to your support.
In September 2010 we opened our first satellite centre, with 2 childcare staff and 1 cook, to bring day-care, support, education and information to a small rural community called La Victiore. It was chosen as it’s a community with a high number of disabled children, but no support or help for them. The centre has enabled us to support children who live too far away to come to our central Maison de Benediction. We have trained and mobilised church leaders and members to open a community outreach day project for disabled children.
So far the project has been really welcomed by the people and the assistance it provides is already making a big difference.
The majority of these children have spent their whole lives at home due to their lack of mobility. However with education and support, families are benefiting greatly from the project. The children play and learn basic skills, while the parents get an opportunity to cook, work and have a rest. Each child is provided with meals and some basic physiotherapy.
This photo is Elisha from La Victoire. She cannot sit so has spent her whole life lying on a bed. Her family loves her very much but had never had training or support on how to look after their daughter so her muscles have seized up and she cannot move, but now we are providing support for them now at the Petit Maison de Benediction.
We are really happy by the welcome the project has received from the local community, and finding more and more families coming forward to receive support and care. We heard the moving stories of families who explained how the opening of our new centre had unleashed new life for their families. This photo is Elisha from La Victoire, for instance, she cannot sit so has spent her whole life lying on a bed. Her family loves her very much but had never had training or support on how to look after their daughter so her muscles have seized up and she cannot move, but now we are providing support for them now at the Petit Maison de Benediction. Disabled children for the first time offered care outside of the house, and families given the respite a few days a week to grow. Hearing the stories for the first time was moving, challenging, but also deeply encouraging. This centre only costs about $5,000 US to run per year, yet the affect it’s having upon the whole community is priceless. Our hope is that in the coming years many more of these little centres will spring up.
Thanks again for your contributions you have helped changed the lives of some of the most vulnerable people in Haiti.
Carwyn Hill and The Haiti Hospital Appeal Team
What a busy few months it's been for the Haiti Hospital Appeal.
The Children's Home has developed incredibly over the last few months thanks to all your support. Over the summer we refurbished a room within the home for a new member of our staff...a teacher! We now have a fantastic little classroom which allows our new team member to work one to one with the children with special needs. Everything we do aims to provide these children with the best chance of independence when they're older. This includes teaching them to walk, feeding themselves, playing, communicating and now learning vital skills through the class room. Many of the kids have really come alive through this exciting development, and we're looking forward to expanding this work.
Thanks to 'Living Water' we also have a new nurse who comes to the home every morning Monday - Thursday and checks all the kids are doing OK. Sadly the health situation for children in Haiti is still dire and even with our new nurse there are some times cases we struggle to deal with. About a month ago one of the children we support had a seizure. The government hospital which the child was taken too lacked the basic resources to deal with this child's needs. We asked one of the doctors what the prognosis was, and he turned to us and said, 'Not great. I know what to do for this child but I don't have the right equipment to help.' The next day the doctor came to our sight and shared the sad news that the child had died in the night. This tragic news was just one story of the continued need for more action.
Many children have been saved thanks to your support in this home! Where there was no hope they have been given hope. Where there was no future they have been given one. Yet, the sad story of this little child reminds us at the Haiti Hospital Appeal of the continuous urgent need for further help. We cannot stop.
That's why in the coming months we're going to be pushing forward with some more exciting developments. This includes launching a mobile outreach clinic for women and children, opening our maternity and pediatric unit, and progressing the work of a new Children's Centre we've just opened in the heart of Haiti. This centre will eventually provide day care for 20 disabled children. It's a new and exciting piece of work literally in its first few weeks of life. Next time we'll share a little more about this specific piece of work.
As with daily life in Haiti, this little update is full of highs and lows. The highs of knowing we have made a difference, the lows of knowing there are still children in need who we haven't yet got the capability of supporting. That's why we'd call upon you again to make a donation towards this work, to encourage your friends and family to get on board and to spread the word. If you'd like to find out more information please visit our web-site which is packed full of blogs, news items and much more: www.haitihospitalappeal.org
Thanks for your continued support and we look forward to writing to you again soon and sharing some more stories of what your support has helped achieve!
The Haiti Hospital Appeal team
Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to globalgiving.org by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.
If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you will get an e-mail when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports via e-mail without donating or by subscribing to this project's RSS feed.