A Story in Six Parts

A Story in Six Parts

Boys_-_volunteering

1.) MOTHER THERESA’S HOME FOR HANDICAPPED KIDS

In 2015, six boys from the Safe House began volunteering at one of Mother Theresa’s Homes for Handicapped Kids.  This is beyond remarkable. In a country that views handicapped/disabled kids as dispensable, these former (tough) street boys go to the Home every Tuesday, for 90-minutes to feed, clean, and play with profoundly handicapped children.

At first they were tentative and unsure, but they became confident, taking responsibility & ownership for their actions, caring for these kids voluntarily.

Beyond food and shelter and education, these boys are becoming men.

2.) ASSOCIATION FOR PARENTS OF HANDICAPPED CHILDREN

In 2014, Mackenlove, one of the Safe House boys, accompanied Morgan to a Board meeting of the Association for Parents of Handicapped Children. They discussed future collaboration, encouraging the Association to confirm statistics regarding how many handicapped children are denied the right to an education and what obstacles are stopping them from attending school.

There are 64 handicapped children in Les Cayes registered with this association.

This is a completely local initiative of Haitian parents who have come together to create a support network for others struggling to care for their handicapped children, and is also well connected with local government authorities.

3.) CHRISTMAS PARTY FOR PARENTS & HANDICAPPED KIDS

Mackenlove attended a later meeting so as to begin planning a Christmas celebration for the parents and children involved in this association. Our youth in the Safe House organized the event, performing a hilarious skit/ prayer/ speech and creating handmade decorations. Echenel, Ednel, Mackenlove & Oberny sang a special song called “Timoun se Lavi” (Children are Life) to the parents, with a little boy dancing beside them.

The Board members of the Association secured a location, generator, and sent invitations to the parents/ children. I was impressed as they were more than willing to take on certain aspects of the event in their own hands. They are very grateful for any bit of assistance. During this event, we gave the parents a chance to share their greatest difficulties and needs – so as to give us a better understanding of their situation and how to intervene in the future.

We provided a meal. This required expenses for supplies to create decorations and food – but was a remarkable opportunity to empower our youth to be involved in their community and develop leadership skills.

4.) BEACH DAY WITH HANDICAPPED KIDS

A beach day for local handicapped children & their parents had been planned, and I decided to bring 10 youth from our Safe House along to volunteer and assist with the event.

These boys, formerly in the streets, waded into the ocean carrying handicapped children whose parents didn’t want to get wet. Other boys from the Safe House spoke to parents, asking about their greatest challenges and what support would make the greatest difference for them.

These are empathetic, caring leaders in the making!

5.) OUTREACH VISITS TO PEDIATRIC WARD OF LOCAL HOSPITAL

After helping with Medical Teams International’s celebration for the International Day of Disabled Persons last December, Wathson has taken a real interest in reaching out to children who are handicapped:

He stepped up to volunteer at a local orphanage for handicapped children! We are beyond proud of the young man this former street child is becoming.

6.) PEDIATRIC WARD

Over Christmas, I took the safe house children to visit the pediatric ward of the hospital, to converse with and encourage the parents (this may help prevent abandonment).

We then did follow up visist where each youth will reflect on what the parent he spoke with identified as their child’s greatest need, and would have the youth prepare a thoughtful gift for that child based on his conversation with the parent.

This might be medicine or food or hygiene items. We would then return to have the youth deliver the gift.

There were some significant expenses, but are considered Outreach to some of the most vulnerable families in the community – which may mean the difference between a parent becoming discouraged to the point of abandonment, or having hope to continue fighting for their struggling child.

In addition, the personal growth and empathy planted within each youth we are raising through these activities is irreplaceable, and immensely important. We want the youth we are raising not only to be well fed and in school, but to be caring, motivated leaders with the drive and open mindedness to help others.

Beach + disabled kids
Beach day - disabled kids
1 Comment
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    December 21, 2016 at 9:16 pm