Children's Respite Home & Outreach Project, Haiti

by Hope Health Action

The Maison de Benediction respite home continues to grow from strength to strength, and as 2015 ends we reflect on progress and growth we can see that has happened over the year.

We have revised our timetable to allow for more activities and progression for the children. The children have clear targets that they are working towards. We have a new child, Roudley, who is blind. Her family have struggled to care for her and to work but now with the help of the MdB they can work and do not need to leave Roudley at home on her own. She is now at the respite home where she can discover new activities and is beginning to understand the routines and what happens.

The children have had intensive training on speech and language therapy from several UK speech and language therapists. This has resulted in the children making great progress. Each day these children have a speech and language session led by Nancie the project leader. They practise making sounds and using pictures to communicate. This has been wonderful for the children to be able to communicate more fully.

In preparation for Christmas all the children were given a present. This is a package with some clothes, soap and a toy for them to celebrate with in their homes. We look forward to another year of moving forward in 2016.

Thank you so much for making this project such a success and changing so many lives for the better. We have more plans for 2016 and beyond so we'd love for you to come with us on this journey.

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

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James at the Maison
James at the Maison

We are delighted to announce that the respite home, which we call the Maison de Benediction, will now be open for four days a week as opposed to the three days it is currently running. This means that we can support more children and is only possible because donors like you remain committed to this project. Thank you so much for your support. 

The Maison will now run from Monday morning to Thursday morning meaning the current families can receive a more comprehensive programme of care and we can take in more children to this special and unique service; children such as James.

James is 14 and has cerebral palsy. He can walk and talk, but his speech is very difficult to understand. He understands everything we say to him but he is difficult to understand and often he can become frustrated, really wanting to share his ideas and tell us what he knows. We have a Speech Therapist from England volunteering with us at the moment and so she is working with the staff to develop an hour of Special Educational Needs (SEN) Schooling for our children. James has not been accepted in to school here in Haiti, even though his family have taken him to enrol him several times. The schools don't include him because of his special needs.

But we believe in James and know he can achieve a lot with the right support. After just 2 weeks of these activities in the Maison, he is learning to read and write and is a wonderful student!

We are very excited to be opening for another day but we know our job is far from finished. There are an unthinkable number of families who desperately need this kind of respite and rehabilitation support and with more funding we know we can reach more of them. Please consider committing to a regular gift so we can do more. 

Thank you so much.

James in the paddling pool
James in the paddling pool

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Maison party
Maison party

The Maison de Benediction celebrated its sixth anniversary this year. Since its opening in 2009, dozens of children with disabilities and their families have been able to benefit from the support and care services offered and the Maison director, Nancie, rightly decided that was cause for a party! The date chosen conveniently coincided with National Children’s Day, so it was a double celebration that the children and their families were invited to celebrate together with Maison staff one Thursday in June.

There were the usual festivities, with some hymns, speeches, songs and dances performed by some of the children and a couple of sketches performed by the Maison staff. It was, in many ways, a fairly typical Haitian celebration and a good time was had by all. However, there were some touching moments among the usual speeches and sketches that gave insight into why the Maison is unusual and why it is truly worth celebrating.

One of the sketches portrayed a family with a disabled child and some of the trials they face trying to raise their child with no outside support in an often hostile environment. The parents in the audience watched this, murmuring to each other in agreement that this was an accurate representation of the daily difficulties they face. Because the Maison does more than provide a respite service to parents; it’s evidence of the fact that there are people that care about them, that understand their struggles and acknowledge their strength and love for their children.  The sketch ended with the child registering for the Maison, and there was a poignant air to the applause that followed, as the parents understood the message from the staff who had been acting - the unspoken “we are partners in this. We know it’s hard and we support and encourage you”.

This was followed by a speech from the head administrator of the hospital, who originally worked as the administrator for the Maison. She spoke about how her time at the Maison was special beyond compare, and she named three children who had particularly left a lasting impression on her. She mentioned the joy she experienced from spending time with them, but also from watching them interact with their own parents who demonstrate true selflessness and love on a daily basis.

While the day was officially a celebration of children, at the party it was more a celebration of families. This was fitting as it is what the Maison has always been – a way to keep families together. 

Through your support, we are on the verge of being able to extend the opening hours on the respite home which will be a huge step forward in helping deliver a holistic programme of support. But with only a little extra still we could commit to open the home full time. Thank you for everything you have done so far. 

Esther in her party frock
Esther in her party frock
Caleb and his Mum
Caleb and his Mum

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Nicholas sitting on a trike
Nicholas sitting on a trike

Nicolas is an intelligent eight year old boy who has been coming to the Maison for several years. He is one of the higher functioning children of those that regularly attend the Maison, with mobility, good comprehension and limited but constantly improving speech. He loves participating in story time, singing and making crafts as well as helping out the caregivers when it comes to tidying up.

Seeing his potential, the Maison director suggested to his parents that they should enrol him in a school as he could flourish in an educational environment. At the beginning of the January term, Nicolas went with his mother to a local primary school where they met with the headteacher. Upon hearing Nicolas’ speech impediment, he was immediately denied entry to school, stating that he wasn’t capable of attending. Undeterred, Nicolas and his mother visited a second school where he actually spent the day in a class, however when his mum came to pick him up, she was told that they would be unable to accept him as a pupil after all because he was too distracting for the other children. They tried a couple of other schools but were turned away each time.

Sadly, this is a reality for many children with disabilities in Haiti, with people unable to see past their disability to their capabilities. Fortunately for Nicolas, even though he cannot go to school, he can still attend the Maison de Benediction three days a week where the motto is “disability not inability” and he is valued as an individual. Staff there recognise and celebrate his strengths and make an effort to engage him in stimulating activities so that he is able to grow in his abilities in the hope that one day, others too will see just how capable he is.

Thank you so much for supporting this amazing work. There's so much more that we can do to help children and families with disabilities, and challenge the stigma associated with disability in Haiti. Your continued support will help us grow this service and offer it to so many more families in desperate need of help. 

With much love and thanks,

All the HHA team

Nicholas colouring
Nicholas colouring

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Samuel, a survivor working with us to bring hope
Samuel, a survivor working with us to bring hope

Today marks the 5th Anniversary of the devastating earthquake that struck Haiti on 12th January 2010.  With around 3,500,000 people affected, an estimated 220,000 lives lost, and over 300,000 injured, many questioned Haiti's future.

Thanks to your support, our response has left a legacy that continues to save thousands of lives every year.  Aside from supporting children with disabilities, we also help support one of the leading Maternity and Paediatric Units in North Haiti.

Thanks to the incredible support of Konbit Sante (one of our partners in Haiti) we have a unique opportunity to match fund every donation people make towards our Maternity and Paediatric work, pound for pound.  That means if you donate £10, we can instantly double it to £20.

Please join with us and make a special donation to this critical work today, in memory of January 12th 2010.  Your support can help keep a leading Maternity and Paediatric Unit in North Haiti open through out 2015.  If you have time, please also take a moment to share our Global Giving Match Fund page with your friends and family.  For many, this may be the perfect way to remember Haiti 5 years on.  Please visit our page today:

http://www.globalgiving.co.uk/projects/run-a-pediatric-and-maternity-unit-in-haiti/

Thanks again for your continued kind support.

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Organization Information

Hope Health Action

Location: West Wickham, Kent - United Kingdom
Website: http:/​/​www.hopehealthaction.org
Project Leader:
Barry Mann
Volunteer
Bromley, Kent United Kingdom
$11,084 raised of $15,000 goal
 
213 donations
$3,916 to go
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