From the JFA Moderator:In Quakes Aftermath Haitians With Disabilities Suffer Devastation
I think we all felt shocked, saddened, and horrified by the news and images of the aftermath of the earthquake in Haiti this past week, and many of us lent money, time and support to excellent relief efforts. However, I was pleasantly surprised to hear about relief organizations that are targeting those victims who are most severely affected, those most isolated, most stigmatized and most overlooked by other organizations, those with disabilities. Before the quake approximately 800,000 Haitians were living with a disability. With the destruction of the quake, that number is likely to have increased significantly. Portlight Strategies is on the ground in Haiti providing food, water and other emergency service to our Haitian brothers and sisters with disabilities. Healing Hands for Haiti has been serving Haitians with Disabilities for over 10 years, and despite having suffered serious losses of their own, they are continuing to assist in Port-au-Prince, the capital city.
From New Mobility (1/19/10):
Tremors of Intent
Relief for Haitians with Disabilities
Paul Timmons, board chair of the disaster-relief group Portlight Strategies, says there’s a good reason his group focuses on people with disabilities. “It’s a screaming need,” says Timmons, who has a physical disability himself. “The large relief providers, almost without exception, don’t even have us on their radar, much less in their sights. Things as simple as shelter accessibility get overlooked.”...
...It’s hard as hell to focus on disabled Haitians,
says Timmons. “Culturally they are horribly stigmatized. They’re
considered dogs and you can actually eat dogs. So we are going to the
shelter operators, group home operators and clinic operators and
starting there. And there are hell of a lot more people with
disabilities now than there was a week ago. We are sending thousands of
crutches, walkers, splints, braces, wound care stuff, and some generic
prosthetics stuff. It’s not a long-term solution, but a start.” He’s
hoping to be able to send large quantities of decent wheelchairs down
“We need crutches, walkers, eventually we’ll need wheelchairs. What we don’t need is grandma’s fur coat,” says Timmons. “Having said all that, we need money. We’ve got plane fuel, distribution expenses. If people have access to meaningful quantities of medical supplies we need them. We don’t need one-off stuff, like my old braces. Send cash. One thing that’s catching fire a little bit around the country is that people who want to donate stuff, they’re having yard sales and donating the cash, I think that’s a great idea.”...
From NJN (1/20/10):
Disability the hidden horror of Haiti
After the rescuers move on to the next disaster and the eyes of the world move with them, the Haitians with disabilities will be buried under the crushing weight of the country’s other unmet priorities
By Ethan Ellis
...Those of us with disabilities who know the island also know that after the last body is buried, the last hospital is rebuilt and the country begins to come alive again as its rescuers move on to the next disaster and the eyes of the watching world move with them, that people like us, now multiplied by the earthquake’s crush will be buried under the crushing weight of the country’s other unmet priories.
Those of us at Next Step who know the island also know that the people like us will be left to die or survive as beggars unless somebody does something and that we are in the best, or the least worst position to do it. We also know that doing something will require a long-term commitment and a lot of guidance and support from those who know Haiti and its people better than we do...
...You may also want to research other charities that are already established in Haiti. Physicians for Peace are certified by InterAction and have a mandate “through Physicians for Peace’s partner network of Healing Hands for Haiti and St Vincent’s School for Handicapped Children (and others), both in Port-au-Prince, cash donations will go directly to provide immediate trauma relief and longer term assistance for amputees and disabled.”
In Canada, you may want to consider Broken Wings Missions Inc. which has an established record of setting up homes for those living with disabilities in Haiti and other countries...
For More and Updated information see the United States International Council on Disabilities (USICD):
The members of USICD want our website to provide information on relief efforts following the devastating January 12 earthquake in Haiti, particularly related to charities and news addressing the disability community. Please continue to check this homepage for updates.
Nongovernmental Organizations Accepting Donations and Specializing in Disabilities in Haiti
USICD staff have compiled this list from reliable sources, but cannot attest to these organizations' current activities. We welcome additional information or inqueries to be sent to [email protected]