Building on the excitement of opening our HHA’s Rehabilitation unit, one of the first in Haiti, late last year, we have some really encouraging feedback from the unit’s head nurse and our rehabilitation patients.
Head nurse Mme Magloire reports how patients tell her the unit has given them a reason to live; in a country where people with disabilities are known as ‘worthless’ this is truly remarkable. She says they would never have imagined receiving the care they get daily; a holistic programme of physiotherapy, rehab. excercises, a resident psychiatrist to facilitate mental rehabilitation and wellbeing, and vocational activities. It is brilliant to have this feedback, and it is an endorsement of our goals to challenge attitudes to disability in this country; even starting with those who are themselves disabled.
Rehab patient Fritzner Eugene is particularly impacted by the approach of the nurses to their work. “They give us dignity,” he says; “I couldn’t have imagined finding this kind of care in Haiti.” Fritz is also amazed at his own physical healing and progress since he arrived at the unit; “When I came my two wounds were larger than a hand each. Now they are less than the width of a penny.”
What’s more, early in the year we received confirmation of a partnership with the UN’s Community Violence Reduction Team, to begin building a disability sports centre right next to the Rehabilitation unit. Sport is an incredibly powerful tool to overcome the awful stigma people living with disabilities have to face in Haiti, transforming attitudes and helping communities understand disability, so we’re really excited to begin this work which will be a hub of activity, providing indoor training facilities for seeking to join Haiti’s paralympic movement. It will also support grass root activities for kids, teenagers and less competitive adults offering wheelchair tennis, wheelchair basketball and sitting volley ball.
As you can see we have a lot to celebrate and also a lot to work for; can you join us by donating to our Rehabilitation Project? Please help us provide on-going support to those learning to live with disability and grow our work encouraging Haitian society to embrace their adults and children with disabilities and benefit from their skills and contribution.
Hand cycle training for rehab patient Leon