January 2016 mission trip to Haiti: the new rehab clinic in Gonaives opened its doors!
On January 7, while on one of our trips to Haiti, the Rehabilitation Clinic of Artibonite in Gonaives, Haiti had it’s grand opening. This was a culmination of many months of preparation and fundraising to accomplish this important goal, to provide access to rehabilitation services and wound care to this community of 300,000 people. We are so happy that adults and children in this area will be served. Imagine having a stroke, spinal cord injury, car accident or caring for a child with special needs without the availability of these rehabilitation services. This clinic also serves as a central hub for our Community Based Rehab Program in the surrounding mountainous villages. We can now reach even more people in the remote communities of Haiti. Our teams will continue to participate in mobile medical and rehab clinics in areas that have little or no access to healthcare.
2015 – We are preparing to open a rehab clinic in Haiti. Help us make it happen!
Gonaives, Haiti Population 300,000
Rehab Clinics/Access to Rehab 0
Imagine having only one leg and no way to get around, no crutches or walker. Imagine only being able to walk a few feet, and the well where you get your water is a mile away. Wouldn’t it be amazing to make a life changing difference for a person with a physical disability by giving the gift of mobility?
Gonaives is an area of northern Haiti where there is no access to rehabilitation services. We are preparing to open a rehab clinic in this area to provide services for the people in need in Gonaives and also provide outreach programs for the surrounding mountainous villages.
Due to the devastating earthquake in 2010, many Haitians suffered life changing injuries and now have significant physical disabilities. It has been estimated that 10% of all Haitians have a disability. Providing mobility devices and rehabilitation services will dramatically improve the quality of life for people who are most in need. That’s why we started our Mobility Devices for Haiti program. This program provides canes, crutches, and walkers for those in need in Haiti and employs individuals with disabilities. Devices are made out of PVC pipe by individuals with disabilities in our shop in Haiti and are delivered to those in need in nearby villages. The people residing in these villages often have no other way of obtaining or learning how to use a mobility device. Your contribution will help us reach out to the most vulnerable group in the poorest country in the western hemisphere and help them to walk!
What We Need
- We need clinic space in Gonaives, Haiti. We would like to begin with two years of rent and utilities covered when we open the rehabilitation clinic. The clinic will be the main hub location, and employees and volunteers will participate in outreach programs to rural areas for those who cannot get to the clinic.
Estimated $4, 000
- We need materials, supplies and funds to make and buy all the necessary rehab equipment and supplies to open the clinic (parallel bars, training stairs, mat table, cuff weights, hand weights, linens, and more).
Estimated $4, 000
We need materials and supplies for our Mobility Devices for Haiti program. This program provides canes, crutches, and walkers to those in need in Haiti. It also provides jobs for individuals with disabilities. Devices are made out of PVC pipe in our shop in Port au Prince, and delivered to those in need in nearby villages.
- We need a vehicle to transport those with disabilities to the shop to work, bring supplies and materials to the shop, and then transport mobility devices throughout the country.
Our plans from there:
- With the clinic, supplies and transportation, we will be able to provide more outreach trip to areas of need. We will increase the frequency of visits to provide more consistent care.
- Once established, we will replicate this program into other areas of Haiti that have little or no access to rehabilitation services.
- We plan to continue to expand work opportunities for those with disabilities so they can support themselves and their families.
Here’s what we have accomplished to date
In February of 2012, we volunteered at Hospital Bernard Mev in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti in the spinal cord injury unit, pediatric unit, and rehab clinic. There we learned about the continued challenges that those with physical disabilities experienced in a country with limited medical resources. We also spent time with the amazing Team Zaryen, Amputee Soccer team. This team was created after the 2010 earthquake when hundreds in Haiti had limbs amputated due to severe injuries or wounds. Zaryen, the Creole word for Tarantula, is a spider known to carry on despite the loss of a limb. Zaryen describes the team’s passion to expand beyond soccer. This team wants to send a message of hope to all who are disabled, that they can carry-on and be successful in Haiti. By playing competitive soccer with crutches, they are able to demonstrate their mission clearly. In 2012, only 2 members of Team Zaryen had a formal job. Team members were unable to support themselves and were often homeless and hungry.
When we returned in April 2013, we had the privilege of interviewing all the members of the team. This is when our vision became clear. When asked about their hopes and dreams, everyone of them said that the most important thing for them was to find work. Not one asked for money. They wanted to be able to be self-sufficient, and provide for themselves and their families. They told of the difficulties and discrimination they faced because of their disabilities. Tap-Tap buses, the Haitian form of public transportation, would not stop for them. They said people would not give them jobs, even though they could do it. We knew what we had to do.
In late 2013, we opened our shop in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti, providing a work-space for those with disabilities. We had the opportunity to train eight young gentlemen (who had an arm or leg amputated) to make canes, walkers and other items out of PVC pipe. Others with disabilities were trained in sewing and embroidery. At the shop, they have the opportunity to work to support themselves and their families in a country where finding employment is difficult, and even more difficult for those with disabilities.
So now it’s time for us to take the next step. We want to be able to reach more people with physical disabilities throughout Haiti. Our goal is to open a fully functioning rehab clinic in Gonaives, Haiti, an area with no access to rehabilitation services. From this clinic, we will be able to serve the surrounding mountainous villages.
Other Ways You Can Help
Help us get the word out about this campaign. Please tell a friend, share on social media, and email friends to help us reach our goal.
Thank you for helping us in our mission to provide opportunity to those in need. Where there is great need, there is great opportunity.