Remembering the 5th Anniversary of Earthquake
I met Ronel, a 24-year-old truck driver in Haiti at what was probably the lowest point in his life.He had been the victim of a shooting accident which left him with multiple open fractures of his left leg.He had several surgeries and hospital stays and was left with a severe and painful disability requiring the use of a wheel chair.He could not even stand to use crutches because of the pain. His family was very worried that his depression would eventually result in a suicide. It is at this crucial point in his treatment that Project HOPE got involved in his care through our Rehabilitation and Reintegration program.I’m thrilled to say that Ronel was one of many who benefitted from the program - an impressive collaboration between local Haitian and United States-based health organizations to improve medical services for people living with disabilities caused by the earthquake in 2010 and other tragedies. Ronel made a made a full recovery and is driving his truck again and making a living.
- To date, the Rehabilitation and Reintegration program has helped 5,229 people in Haiti.
Funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the program provides a full range of medical services for disabled persons.The program was implemented three years ago by Project HOPE in partnership with the Société Haitienne d'Aide aux Aveugles (SHAA), Federation Haitienne des Associations et Institutions des Personnes Handicapées D’Haiti (FHAIPH) and Surgical Implant Generation Network (SIGN) from Richland, Washington. Newly renovated medical centers provide safe and effective surgical interventions, physical therapy, counseling and prosthetic and orthotic devices and mobility aids. Specialized training for health professionals at the medical centers have also improved the level of patient care.
The program has also made great efforts within the community to reduce stigma and discrimination against the disabled. We took our message to the streets of Haiti to show people that the disabled have goals like everyone else – whether it be finding a job or just playing sports. For many disabled Haitians involved in the program, it has helped them gain greater independence so they can contribute more to their communities, seek employment and strive for a better life – and to me, that’s success.
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