Haiti’s First Lady Honors Orphanage with a Visit
HaitiChildren Village Cares for Haiti’s Orphaned, Abandoned, and Disabled Children
Arcahaie, Haiti – December 27, 2011 – It’s been almost two years since the January 12 earthquake in Haiti claimed hundreds of thousands of lives. The tiny country just 710 miles from our borders; Haiti seems to only cross our television screens during times of severe crisis. Haiti’s First Lady Sophia Martelly is using her position to emphasize some of the success stories in her country, highlighting the efforts of a Colorado-based nonprofit, HaitiChildren.
Today, Mrs. Martelly visited HaitiChildren Village, a 17-acre campus home to 127 orphans, approximately half of who have physical or mental disabilities. Mrs. Martelly was cheerfully greeted by a delegation of smiling children, who presented her with a bouquet of flowers before taking her on a tour to see the newly opened Rehabilitation and Therapy Center. She also visited the orphanage’s school and the computer-learning center.
“This is the first time I have seen such positive work being done for children,” Mrs. Martelly said, grinning at the smiling faces surrounding her. “This is such great work.”
Mrs. Martelly’s non-profit organization, Foundation Rose et Blanc, works to improve the social, health and economic conditions of Haitians. Children, who will grow to become Haiti’s future leaders, are a core part of those efforts. Mrs. Martelly’s humanitarian efforts have helped shine a spotlight on Haiti’s least fortunate and the focus of HaitiChildren: orphaned, abandoned and disabled children.
“For years, we have worked to provide essential services to disabled, abandoned and orphaned children in Haiti, focusing on health and education,” said Susan Krabacher, Founder and President of HaitiChildren. “After nearly 20 years in this work, I am encouraged by Mrs. Martelly’s passion and concern for Haiti’s children; I believe this government will help us transform the outlook for children who have for so long been left behind and forgotten”.
Following the tour of the Village, the First Lady, children and staff gathered in the Chapel to sit and talk with each other. Mrs. Martelly was clearly impressed and overwhelmed by the happy, energetic children all around her. “I will be back,” she said. “I cannot wait to come back!”
“As we look to expand care to more children throughout the country, we are collaborating with humanitarians like Mrs. Martelly and sharing our successful projects with others to leverage existing programs and begin new initiatives” said Mrs. Krabacher. “Working together, we have so much more opportunity to positively impact children’s lives.”
As Haiti rebuilds, many aid groups have moved on to other places in the world recently impacted by natural disasters. But work in Haiti is not finished; it is a place where change can only be made and measured over the long term. Groups like HaitiChildren understand this, and are committed to stay. Why? As Mrs. Krabacher notes, “When children have what they need to live today and dream about tomorrow – then there is always hope for a better Haiti”.