From Haitian Secretary of State for the Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities (2/16/10):
Greeting to the GPDD group,
I’m Dr. Michel A. Pean, and I am the Secretary of State for the inclusion of persons with disabilities (Secrétairerie d’Etat à l’Intégration des Personnes Handicapées) and the National Coordinator of the Haitian Society for the support of people with visual impairment (SHAA).
I have received information that there are concerns about the involvement of DPOs, the Haitian government and persons with disabilities in relation to the emergency response and recovery efforts in Haiti. I greatly appreciate the advocacy effort made to ensure the inclusion of persons with disabilities in this process.
As a person with disability myself, I would like to share some information on the actual situation here in Haiti. In Haiti, the Secretary of State for the inclusion of persons with disabilities is responsible to ensure inclusion of persons with disabilities within all the government policies and ministries; the Secretary has a team of 40 people to achieve this objective.
During this emergency time, the Secretary has an expanded role to spearhead all activities related to disability whether it concerns persons with existing disabilities or those with new impairments as a result of the earthquake.
There are two main networks of DPOs and local organisations working with/for persons with disabilities in Haiti that encompass approximately 45 DPOs. Most of the DPOs have lost structures or members during the earthquake, but are actively tracking their members and linking them to available services and recovery efforts. For example, the Haitienne Society for support of people with visual impairment has already done a few food and non food items distributions towards their members.
We greatly appreciate the generosity of the international community and your offers of material and human resources support. As you can imagine coordinating all of this goodwill is a challenge for our government. To help with the task of understanding who is doing what the government is working closely with Handicap International and CBM in establishing and strengthening a working group to help coordinate the activities related to injuries, rehabilitation and broader disability issues.
I would like to invite you to join us. Please send us any questions and inform us of your offers for support. We are working hard to identify the needs in our country and will share that with you as soon as possible.
We thank you for your dedication to Haiti and please send all your comments and questions to:
firstname.lastname@example.org with a Cc. - to email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
Dr. Michel A. PEAN
Secretairy of State
Comments Below: With all the devastation in Haiti after the earthquake last month what are ways that all of us could help Haitians receive relief help?