As we reach out to the people of Haiti who are suffering from the loss and devastation of the 2010 earthquake, we are learning more about religious and secular organizations specifically dedicated to children with disabilities and their families that were already 'on the ground' providing housing, education, medical support and other essential services.
Groups funded by what are referred to as Non-Government Organizations or NGOs that have been concerned with the challenges of extreme poverty and lack of social services, healthcare and education for the disadvantaged people of Haiti have included programs and outreach for children, teens and adults with disabilities. Orphans and children abandoned by family members because they could not afford the basic necessities of life numbered in the thousands before the earthquake; these included children with disabilites.
Presently, we are unable to accurately estimate how many more orphans and injured children survived the earthquake. We do know that families who had their own small businesses, skills and resources have lost their livelihoods or their lives during the earthquake. Religious leaders, aid workers, and Haitians who were helping their own people have died, been injured, or lost their own homes, businesses and family members in the earthquake. People of Haitian descent in the USA and around the world deserve our compassion and support as they struggle through these early months. For most of us, the best way we can aid the people of Haiti, including children with disabilities, is to support organizations already knowledgeable about the country and dedicated to ongoing relief efforts.
If you are interested in reading more about NGOs and other groups that are working in Haiti, I will provide links to news stories and web pages at the Special Needs Children forum.
Browse in your public library, local bookstore or online retailer for books about the country of Haiti, like: On That Day, Everybody Ate: One Woman's Story of Hope and Possibility in Haiti and music from Hope for Haiti Now that benefits Haiti aid organizations - the MP3 album gives you all 20 songs for the price of 8. Every little bit helps.
We are collecting links to organizations supporting children with disabilities in Haiti at:
US International Council on Disabilities
NGOs Accepting Donations, Specializing in Disabilities in Haiti
Mobility International USA Haiti Relief
InterActions Disability Working Group efforts
JFActivist: Haitians with Disabilities
Suffering After Quake; How to Help
Hearts with Haiti - Wings of Hope orphanage
Canadian Step by Step
NY attorney directs toward aid for disabled
Mayo, Ireland woman helps children w/
special needs in Haiti quake crisis
Nos Petits Freres et Soeur
More Ways to Help Haitians with Disabilities
Helping Haiti Special Olympians