During our many visits to Haiti since 2009, we have taken a long, hard look at some basic necessities that, while abundant in many parts of the world, are at a premium in Haiti. One of those critical necessities is potable water.
Potable water is pure enough to drink with a low risk of harm, both immediate and over the course of time. In Haiti, thousands upon thousands of people have inadequate access to potable water. Water sources are often severly contaminated, as most recently demonstrated in the cholera outbreak which plagues the country to this day. (For the latest in the cholera epidemic, please see: http://www.trust.org/alertnet/news/haitians-risk-cholera-deaths-as-aid-agencies-withdraw)
The Red Thread Promise is working with several other agencies to install a large water filtration system at St. Vincent's Center for Handicapped Children in downtown Port-au-Prince. St. Vincent's serves children with a variety of disabilities (including hearing impairment, sight impairment, loss of limbs, etc), providing an education, medical services and home for students and orphans in their care. During the months at the height of the cholera epidemic, the Center's Director had to make critical choices with St. Vincent's limited funds: provide a meal or fresh water for the students. Naturally, water was the choice. Students went with little to no food for some time as funds were constantly being used to purchase expensive clean water.
Working together, our team is currently fundraising and planning for the installation of a water filtration system so that the Center's Director no longer has to make this critical choice. Once in place, a constant source of potable water will be available for the Center, staff and students. Extra water will be sold to the public for a nominal fee in order to generate enough income for the filtration system to be self-sustaining. Routine maintenance will keep the filtration system in operating condition constantly so no child has to go without water.
Thank you for your supporting The Red Thread's efforts to provide clean drinking water to orphans and students at St. Vincent's as well as the people in the surrounding area.
Christopher is an orphan in Haiti who suffers from sickle cell anemia. Sickle cell anemia is a disease passed down through families in which red blood cells form an abnormal crescent shape. The fragile, sickle-shaped cells deliver less oxygen to the body's tissues. They can also get stuck more easily in small blood vessels, and break into pieces that interrupt healthy blood flow. Almost all patients with sickle cell anemia have painful episodes (called crises), which can last from hours to days. These crises can affect the bones of the back, the long bones, and the chest. (Excerpt from PubMed Health)
The Red Thread Promise (TRTP) has been funding Christopher's medical needs since he was a toddler. We have loved being a part of his life, watching him grow and always enjoy visiting him whenever possible during our frequent trips to Haiti.
TRTP received a beautiful note from Christopher's forever mother, Jana, who is anxiously awaiting the final adoption paperwork to be processed.
In her note, she states "The Red Thread Promise has been such a HUGE part of bringing Christopher home. We would not have been able to get this far without you. Rachel [orphanage director] says that Christopher has been in much better health since TRTP has supplied the orphanage with a constant supply of medicine and vitamins for him and the other children. We are grateful for the monthly funding you continue to supply for his care while he is in Haiti."
"Our [adoption] paperwork is at the office of the Minister of the Interior in Haiti, the last step before being issued Christopher's passport and visa. As soon as we arrive in the states, we anxiously look forward to meeting with the sickle cell specialists that you have arranged for us in Louisiana. It is amazing that you were able to make this connection on our behalf to help us prepare a long-term plan for Christopher's care. We will think of you every time we look at our precious son. We look forward to the day that we are able to bring him home to stay."
It has been and continues to be our pleasure to support children like Christopher in their time of need. We too look forward to when he is able to go home to his forever family. He will always be in our hearts.
There are 15 children at Rivers of Hope, and they are doing well. Christopher and Stanley have sickle-cell anemia, and we remain committed to helping with their medical costs. 4 children are available for adoption; if you are interested, let us know! We are expanding past Rivers of Hope to work with other similar orphanages and others' childrens' facilities - stay tuned for exciting updates! In the meantime, prepare yourself for unbearable cuteness:
Whereas I typically think of orphanages, in the US or abroad, as sad places where children are not cared for and get little love or attention, Rivers of Hope Orphanage was nicer than most hotels I've seen, let alone childcare centers, even as compared with the wealthiest of neighborhoods in the US. The orphanage, currently about four years old, has facilitated about twenty international adoptions since its inception, mostly to the US and Canada. Although there is local interest from parents and communities that would allow the orphanage to host hundreds of children at a time, they have consciously maintained a smaller size – anywhere from 10-18 children – in order to provide the best care possible to their children. And they really do view the orphans, both during their stays at the orphanage and once in their adoptive homes abroad, as their own. They maintain a 3:1 child-to-caretaker ratio at all times, and the average length of stay for a child is about two years. The costs to care for each child come to about $300 per month, some of which is paid by adoptive parents once they are secured, and part of which comes from much-appreciated donors like you.
We met many adorable babies during our visit on January 9, 2011. Rachel and Willem were kind enough to host us on a Sunday afternoon. Were Haitian adoption criteria not so stringent – parents must be married for a minimum of ten years, be at least thirty-five years old, and have no more than two children – I might have tried to file adoption papers right then and there. A special case, about which all GlobalGiving donors should feel particularly proud, is that of four-year-old Christopher. He has sickle cell anemia and is the oldest of the orphanage’s children. Had it not been for funds provided by GlobalGiving, Christopher would likely not be alive today, as the orphanage has used GlobalGiving donors’ funds to provide him with much-needed medication. He now has pending adoptive parents who will continue to care for him once he leaves Haiti. Although shy and admittedly small for his age, Christopher is absolutely adorable and a very lucky boy to have received such great care while at the Rivers of Hope Orphanage.
We have reached our funding goal but Rivers of Hope continues to need our help! Your donations have continued to provide Christopher, who has sickle-cell anemia, with $300 a month for his health maintenance, food, and clothing until he can join his forever family. We also support other children with child-specific donations for well-child care. We continue to supply medical supplies, food, clothing, bottles and other needed items. The Red Thread Promise does not ship goods to the orphanage because customs fees are steep (often exceeding the value of the items sent!), and we prefer to spend money locally in order to support the economy, but we have found that a few suitcases of goods carried in can make a big difference to the orphanage.
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