In June, Paralympian wheelchair sprinter, and Team GB representative Anne Wafula Strike visited HHA’s respite home, which provides a programme of specialised care including physiotherapy, education and development to more than 40 children living with disabilities in some of the poorest communities in the Western hemisphere.
Anne spent time speaking in communities where a huge stigma is attached to children with disabilities; children like Esther, who was found on a rubbish dump in the city and brought to HHA by a local government worker, and 3 year old Jeffie, who has hydrocephelus and severe learning difficulties. Jeffie lives in one of the poorest areas of the city and is supported by HHA’s Community Based Rehabilitation team. Her family have been victims of heavy abuse in the community because of a lack of understanding about her condition and a stigma associated with disability that gives rise to fear and rejection.
The HHA team have worked in Haiti, visiting schools, churches and groups to help raise awareness and understanding about disabilities so that Jeffie and others like her can find acceptance and nurturing instead of rejection and abuse. Reflecting on her time in Haiti, Kenyan born Anne commented: “It’s been a very powerfulexperience visiting Haiti Hospital Appeal and seeing how people are being given a new lease of life.”
We can’t explain how grateful we are to you for supporting this work with your kind donations. It is very exciting seeing the dream becoming a reality, and that simply would not be possible without your continued support. With staff and patients to support, we are in real need of more regular donors, individuals or groups who would be willing to contribute towards this work on a monthly basis. Please spread the word about HHA, and continue to support us in whatever way you can. ‘Like’ our Facebook page or ‘Follow’ us on Twitter for more news and updates.
We hope that this update will again inspire you, reminding you of the difference you have made to the lives of some of the most vulnerable people in Haiti. Thank you.
It’s been an exciting start to 2012 with new staff, new equipment, training opportunities and, thanks to our incredibly hard working outreach workers on the Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR) team, life changing surgery for three beautiful children.
We have a new administrator which is great news and our teacher is delighted to have some new specialist equipment in the school room and has also received training to make sure the children get the most from it.
The absolute best news to share is that the CBR team managed to find a surgery opportunity and secure appointments for three of our children with hydrocephalus; a build-up of fluid in the brain at birth which increases pressure in the brain and causes brain damage plus mental and physical problems.
Three mothers and their children were taken by the CBR team to Port au Prince for assessment. You can imagine that leaving the safety of rural Cap-hatien was a massive adventure for them, and also very daunting.
After initial assessment they were asked to return a week later to receive life changing surgery. This was exciting but also scary for them and it was great that we could share experiences of past surgeries with them to reassure them. The children all underwent surgery, having shunts fitted which will allow the fluid to drain from the brain, decreasing pressure in the brain and allowing them to develop normally.
This is an amazing new beginning for these children; thank you so much for helping to make it possible. Would you like to help create more life changing opportunities for disabled children in the Nord region of Haiti? If so please partner with us again by donating today. Thank you.
Please remember you can also get regular updates by checking our website news page and blog.
Merry Christmas from the Haiti Hospital Appeal!We want to take this opportunity to wish all our supporters the very best of seasons greetings. Christmas can be a wonderful time of the year, yet it can also hide us from the realities of life for the hurting and the broken, wherever they might be. For us, we seek to continue to bring hope and new life to the people of Haiti through health care services. It really has been an exciting year. Even today, construction continues on our site. Yet, we look to next year believing greater things are yet to come.
A really exciting development of our kids work in the last few months has been the introduction of more regular parent support and training sessions. For many of our parents in Haiti, looking after a child with a disability can be a hard and lonely task, often alienating families from the rest of their community. Yet, our new training is providing valuable support and encouragement to these families, giving them a place to share, learn and encourage one another. Parents have been filled with great joy attending these meetings, and feeling more able to tackle some of the tasks they face back in their towns.
Filled with greater confidence and assurance, the families are able to feel more confident integrating into the community, and providing the valuable care their children need. It's just another little step to a more inclusive Haiti, as we see families and communities transformed, as their understanding of disability is changed.
This work is only possible through you. Could you help further? If so, please donate today.
Please also check out our website in the coming few weeks as we look at ways to remember the second anniversary of the earthquake.
Thanks again for all your support in 2011, and may we once again wish you all a happy and blessed new year.
The Haiti Hospital Appeal Team
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.
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