A passion for occupational therapy in Haiti

Raised with NPH, giving back to NPH

Anabelle recently completed her first year as an occupational therapist, and she loves it.


She grew up from an early age at NPH Haiti. It took her a while to pin down her preferred area of work, but she always threw herself into everything with passion and energy.

She is enormously grateful to her godparents for the love and support they have given her.

Why did you decide to study occupational therapy?

After finishing my classical studies, I spent a year in service, at Sainte Germaine, located in Tabarre in a special school belonging to NPH, where there are children with reduced mobility. The work I was doing was voluntary, but I had no idea if what I was doing with the children encompassed a science, so Gena put the idea in my head. I was researching occupational therapy. It was in this context that I chose to study occupational therapy at a university in Léogane, because it was the only university that offered this course.

Was there anything else you wanted to do when you grew up?

Now that I have a bachelor’s degree in occupational therapy, I have a great desire to continue my studies abroad in order to enrich my knowledge, to help the faculty academically and to continue to serve the people of my country.

Could you tell me a little about where you grew up? Are you originally from Port-au-Prince?

Since I was a baby, I spent my entire childhood in an orphanage in Kenscoff, still run by NPH. I spent my entire school life there, from kindergarden to 9th grade, after which I left kenscoff to go and live in Tabarre, in another NPH home to continue my classical studies. Since I didn’t know my family, Kenscoff is my hometown, so yes, I’m originally from Port-au-Prince.

This year marks the end of your first year as a therapist. Where have you been working? What’s your day like?

I’m an occupational therapist in my third year, graduating in Haiti December 2022. I work in a therapy clinic in Léogane as a therapist and clinical supervisor. I’m there to supervise students when they come for internships; I accompany them when they make assessments, treatments and interventions for patients, in order to correct them. I do a mid-term and final evaluation for the students, and then send the documents to the internship coordinator.

What are your plans for the future?

I have many project but one I would like to realize is long-term, and that’s to set up an occupational therapy workshop. The aim is to facilitate occupational therapy treatment based on occupation and activities, to promote the profession, to show the public our role in the health field and to enable patients to be autonomous in the activities of daily life. Also, to show the importance of activity in the treatment of patients.

We know that Haiti is in a complicated situation at the moment, but you mentioned that it was important for you to stay in Haiti. Can you tell us more about that?

Actually, staying in Haiti requires a lot of courage, patience, perseverance and motivation. With the situation in the country, things are really difficult. There aren’t many rehabilitation professionals or therapy clinics in Haiti. Most rehabilitation clinics are built by foreigners. On top of all that, therapy is very much in demand in the country. In the clinic where I work, I mostly see stroke and fracture patients, because there are a lot of accidents on public roads. The population needs young professionals like me to reduce the risk of illness and help people to be independent in their daily activities.

In your experience, how important are the NPH sponsors? How have they supported you over the years?

The godparents are like biological parents. They take care of almost everything we need. Growing up at NPH was a great advantage and opportunity for me. With the support of my godparents, I’ve been able to achieve a lot. I want to emphasize education as a key to success. Without their help, I wouldn’t know what I’d become. Thanks to their help, I was able to finish all my classical studies and then I had the chance to go to university, pay for transport, rent, eat and enjoy the happiness of life without financial difficulties. Now I’m a self-sufficient, independent woman, thanks to the support of my godmothers and godfathers, who enabled me to become an occupational therapist today to serve the people of Haiti. Now I continue to follow the NPH path by helping my NPH sisters who are in financial difficulty. I’m so proud of myself, I’ll never stop thanking NPH, and I carry it in my heart every day.

Anything else you’d like to explain or mention?

One thing I would like to add is to find the possibility to representing NPH on the international channel as a Haitian to show its fruit and that the support I’ve been given is not in vain. I think it’s important because it will motivate other young NPH people to see my story and my career at NPH, and it will be a source of pride for the sponsors to continue supporting the organization’s young people.

Haiti these days

Haiti these days
It’s hard to write about Haiti these days.
It’s hard to tell the stories – they are hard stories, terrifying stories.
Stories of burnt bodies – bodies of men and women, just like you and I.
Men and woman, going about their business, not bothering anyone, getting on a bus in the morning and being burnt alive in that bus.
Who knows?
Wrong place, wrong time?
A gang leader inflicting terror on the population?
It’s hard to talk about the mother of three kids, that went to the market last week and got killed on her way home.
She was in the tap tap (local transportation), the bandits stopped it. They robbed the passengers, trampled on the vegetables they were bringing home.
The mother of three, had a bag of rice.
They opened it, emptied it out and stomped all over it.
She cried out- “O Jesus, I have three kids, what will I give them to eat?”.
They shot her dead.
It’s hard to talk about the school children wearing helmets to school, wearing helmets inside the classroom, in the hope of protecting themselves from stray bullets.
Hard to talk about the teacher that got hit by a bullet, in his neck, while he was in the classroom teaching.
Hard to talk about the small kids lying on the ground under the school benches while massive gunfire can be heard all around them.
Not easy to talk about all children that cannot go to school because it is too dangerous for them to go on the road.
In the first two weeks of March, the UN say that at least 277 people have been murdered and 101 kidnappings have been reported.
Since January, UN staff have counted 531 killings. You can be sure the actual numbers are even higher. They say that many of those shootings were random shootings, where snipers shot into crowds of people.
It is heart breaking to talk to staff that have no idea what to do.
They are surrounded by bandits and gun fire.
They are prisoners in their own homes. Sleeping under their beds while the bullets rain down outside.
One lady, was forced to leave her home in August.
She rented a house in Sept and now seven months later, she has to move again as she is once more surrounded by gunfire and gangs.
Another asked me yesterday for a mattress – when you leave your house, you can’t take things with you – just a few small things. She and her son are staying with a friend.
Chances are, once you leave your house, the bandits will come and steal everything.
This happened to two members of our staff. Everything taken. 30 years of hard work – all gone.
Three of our teachers were attacked while on their way to work.
Three brave women.
I get so angry when I see the suffering.
When I see people fleeing from their homes.
When I see the videos of homes burnt to the ground.
Angry when I see how good people are living in terror.
Angry when every conversation is about who has been kidnapped and who has been killed.
Angry when the gangs publish videos of their massive assault weapons,
when they send out videos of themselves killing or raping their victims.
Videos where they make fun of the police trying to establish some law and order.
Videos that show them counting hugh sums of money – money from kidnappings.
A good friend of ours was kidnapped February 2nd. She was one of the founding doctors in our hospital.
We have to presume she is dead, as there has been no contact with her.
Many that are kidnapped are badly treated.
Others are not.
All are traumatized.
How not to be?
It’s hard to write about Haiti these days.
We hope for better days.
We do what we can to be there for those we meet
and we do our best to keep all our programs going.
The children and young people do well in our care and they give us the strength to face every day.
They themselves, that have suffered immensely in their young lives, are always quick with a smile and a hug.
We watch them learn new skills – like self feeding, dressing, undressing, making juice, making dinner – life-giving moments for them and for us.
Food for our souls.
It’s hard to write about Haiti these days.
Somehow, I feel it would be worse not to write.

Gena, 23 March 2023

Appeal for Haiti by Senator Rónán Mullen

Rónán Mullen, senator and leader of the Human Dignity Alliance, wrote to his supporters on 15 October to encourage them to support the NPH Special Needs Programmes in Haiti.

He shared with them the following update from Gena Heraty, Director of the Special Needs Programmes.

Sadly the situation in Haiti goes from bad to worse and none of us expected it would ever get this bad. We have a combination of awful things happening:


Heavily armed gangs control most of the roads around the city so you risk your life if you go on those roads. The main road to the south has been blocked by gangs for over a year now so most of the people have had to leave the area called Martissaint – where you leave the Capital to go south. A non-profit human rights defence network recently reported that there are currently 90 active, heavily armed gangs around Port Au Prince alone. These gangs kidnap, rape, rob, kill, butcher. They are vicious, and we all know several people that were kidnapped by these gangs. To say that they terrorise people is to put it mildly.

Lack of Fuel

For weeks now there has been no diesel or petrol at the gas stations. So without fuel, you can imagine how quickly things go crazy.

No public transport, schools still closed, patients unable to get to hospitals. Our Special Needs School is still closed and even though our rehab center is open, very few patients can come for therapy as there is no fuel and no public transport.

Anti government demonstrations

The president was murdered in July 2021. Since then, the government has been led by the Prime Minister. For 2 weeks on end we have had anti-government demonstrations. Most end up being violent with people being shot – by the police. They shoot at them with tear gas and live ammunition. The crowds of people usually throw stones and destroy property and cars. Many places have been set on fire and countless businesses pillaged. Roads are blocked with huge barricades or burning tyres.

On several occasions the road from the orphanage to town has been blocked. People want the prime minister to resign and they want him to put down the price of fuel. He more than doubled the price in September when he removed the government subsidy on fuel. This led to an immediate increase in anti-government rallies.


Not only is food hard to come by due to the lack of fuel for transportation, but the cost of everything is sky high. People struggle to find drinking water. People are hungry.


Can you imagine having cholera in a country with limited access to clean water and hospitals? Well sadly Cholera is back again in Haiti and one report said that up to 70 prisoners have died from cholera in the past two weeks.

No Electricity

We never have electricity any more. In over a year maybe we have had at most 5 evenings when we had a few hours of electricity.

So things are dire right now. Many many people have left the country, and many of them are qualified doctors and nurses. No one sees a future here, and if you get kidnapped you have to pay huge amounts of money. They will ask for something like $300,000 US and you negotiate down as low as you can. We know many that had to pay over $60,000 but most people don’t tell how much they paid. For sure, no one can afford to be kidnapped.

Many of my staff have been robbed at gunpoint. More have had to leave their homes due to gangs taking over their areas. Hiding under your bed is a regular occurrence for many, while outside it is raining bullets. Many many people have died when hit by stray bullets. Those that have families living in the countryside tell me about the problem they have accessing food and water. It is so, so sad.

As you know, I run a home for people with disabilities. I have 31 in my care. I am about to have 26 more. The house they lived in was attacked twice by armed gunmen so we are bringing them up to my care, as the home where they lived is in an area that is too dangerous. Imagine the kind of person that attacks a home for children with disabilities?

Some of the acts of violence are too horrific to write about. Seriously. Some totally horrific stuff happening.

In the midst of all this, we recently welcomed a small baby to our home. His mom died after giving birth to him and his twin. The twin later died and he ended up in our baby house, as he was very mal-nourished and his dad could not take care of him. He is one year old but more like a 4-5 month baby development-wise. As he needs physical therapy, we brought him to the house I share with the disabled – Kay Christine. He is a joy and everyone loves him. He is the center of attention and responding very well to all the love and care.

As I watch him grow and develop, I keep thinking, this is what we are about! We are here to try and make a difference – one person at a time. We have to deal with so much. Every day brings a story of pain and suffering. It would be very easy to despair. But with every day comes an opportunity to do something positive. We have to focus on all that we can do and then we have to knuckle down and keep doing it.

I am repairing 2 houses in order to welcome 26 more people with disabilities into our family. Just the thought of it has terrified me these past 2 months. I felt I already had more than enough on my plate But these kids need a loving home. We are good at what we do. We know how to take care of people. We will give them that home they deserve- safe from the bandits. We are busy training new staff. We have a lot to do. With your help we will get there.

Life is never about taking the easy road. It is about taking what you believe is the right road.

Thanks for your support. I don’t know where Haiti is going. I pray for peace here and peace in the world. Please be assured that we do need your help. No contribution is too small. Every help is a HUGE help. I know those of you reading this have worries and concerns of your own and a choice of charities that need your help. I will be most grateful for any help you send our way.

All the best,

Gangs, kidnaps, violence, hope

Reflections from Gena

Seeking Words

I sit before a blank screen and will and woo words, hoping they will suddenly form and leap out onto my fingers.

Not much leaping going on am afraid!

Feels more like they are being dragged out begrudgingly, reluctant to leave my muddled brain!

How to write without words?

I need words to give you an insight into life in Haiti these days.

I need words to convey the terror that has enveloped Haiti these past months.

Words to explain how ordinary men, women, and children, are dying daily – victims of gun battles between gangs.

Victims of horrific acts of violence.

Hundreds have died.

Hundreds have been shot.

Thousands more are cut off from basic supplies – caught up in the gang wars.

Violent gangs, that are heavily armed and show no mercy.

Lines of people having to flee their homes – to escape the gunfire.

Often it is in the middle of the night.

Quickly grabbing a few essentials and running for their lives.

Running to nowhere, as there is nowhere to go.

Maybe a local park, or a church, a cousin’s home – the new abode – for days, weeks, months…

Brave people – amongst them Father Rick and his team – risk their lives trying to get help to the wounded, trying to get help to those stuck inside the war zone.

Those that stay home  exist terrified.

I say exist because this is not living- it is holding on tight, and praying to God they do not break down your door and attack you and your loved ones. As happens all the time to many like you.

Praying the shooting stops so you can get out and buy some water and food.

Where are the words that can adequately explain the trauma of being kidnapped?

Held hostage for weeks.

Some beaten badly, some not,

Some shot in the process, some not.

Some killed resisting.

All traumatized.

Families – scraping and scrambling to pay huge ransoms – money they don’t have and will spend years and years trying to pay back.

Worrying and wondering will the loved one be ok.

Daily reports of kidnappings.

Friends kidnapped,

Colleagues kidnapped.

Children kidnapped.

Professionals kidnapped.

Pastors kidnapped.

Priests kidnapped.

Market sellers kidnapped.

Everyone worried- who will be next?

Major roads governed by gangs.

Not so major roads governed by gangs.

Travel on them if you dare.

Some have no choice so they desperately dare And dreadingly take the roads.

Some get shot in the process.

Many are robbed on the way.

Some make it safely.

Fear and stress cling to them each time.

Is this living?

Hospital beds lie empty.

Too dangerous for the sick to make the trip.

Don’t for one minute think they will get help elsewhere.

For most, these hospitals are their only hope for recovery.

Most therapy patients cannot come either.

No fun running from bullets with a disabled child in your arms.

Tis never fun running from bullets- sadly dodging bullets is now common practice for so many.

Everyday stories bring tears to the eyes, People crying on the radios, begging the bandits to release hostages, Begging the gang leaders to call a truce, to stop the killings.

Stories about relatives that never made it home and families desperate to find them.

Staff stories relating what is now their daily living.

Worried for themselves.

Worried for their children.

Worried for family in the countryside.

Where is Haiti going?

Should they leave?

So many have left already.

So many more are preparing to leave.

Start anew, illegal in a foreign land?

Stay and wonder when it will be you, your husband, or your kids that are taken?

Leave the car at home – they like to kidnap people that own cars.

What hope for a better Haiti?

Years of working hard and you can’t even live in your own home.

Refugees in your own country.

Fuel crisis after fuel crisis.

Massive hike in prices of everything.

Hunger visiting so many.

Everyone so resilient.

Determined to make a better life for their children.

Nobody giving up despite all the stresses.

Everyone pushing on, day after day, trying to make a living.

Daring to hope for better days to come.

Tis lunch time here in Kay Christine.

One by one the young adults arrive back from their activities.

They are healthy, happy and safe – far from the horrors in the city.

What a blessing!

If it was not for this home, and all that support it, where would they be now?

How many people with disabilities are caught up in the latest gang war?

How many children with disabilities are hungry right now?

In the midst of the darkness we must find ways to shine a light.

We must find ways to support all those struggling right now.

We give thanks for all our blessings and continue to pray for peace in Haiti and peace in the world.

My words are for Haiti but I am well aware that there are so many people suffering all over the world.

The Human Family needs peace.

We need to stop seeing people as different to us.

The powers that sell darkness, death and destruction want us to focus on our differences.

There is money to be made from investing in Hate.

Don’t give them that power.

Don’t be manipulated.

We are all basically the same – human, one family.

Let us each, in our own way, be instruments of peace.

‘So let’s strive for the things that bring peace, and the things that build each other up” Romans 14:19


Gena Heraty


Crafts workshop at Kay Christine

There are lots of challenges for the NPH Haiti team just to get through everyday activities, but there’s still time for fun.

Recently the residents set to work creating decorative picture frames.

Watch our short video to see how having a disability doesn’t stop people from producing amazing handicrafts.

This is the daily activity for the older residents at Kay Christine, and everyone there has become alert to opportunities to recycle materials into gifts, including for all the staff at Christmas. But the main idea is to be creative.

Everyone is involved. The video shows mainly our more able residents, but they also include the people in wheelchairs.

“The residents have learnt a lot of skills and they really love it. There’s a great atmosphere.”

Gena Heraty, Director Special Needs

The residents may be able to do a monthly sale in due course to raise some funds.

Older ones, daily activity, recycling for gifts, once a month sale, creative, they have learnt a lot of skills and they really love it.” A great atmosphere. Always finding new ideas and new ways. Everyone is saving recyclables.

Flor’s 8 months in Haiti

My name is Daniela ‘Flor’ Duran. I arrived in Haiti on 4 January January 2020. I had completed the Viatores Christi Venture training before leaving Argentina. I worked in Haiti for the last 8 months at the NPH Haiti Special Needs Programmes.

Flor with a patient and colleague
Flor (l) with a patient and colleague

My main goal on arriving in Haiti was to expand my professional knowledge by working in another culture. I also wanted to be able to help and train the people who work in the Special Needs programmes at the Kay St. Germaine School in Tabarre and at Kay Christine in Kenscoff. I was able to share my experience of working with children in Argentina and provide the support they needed during my stay in Haiti. The people who work in these programmes had were already very good with patients thanks to their training by Norma Lopez. That made it even more of a challenge to help the therapists continue to develop in their work with people with disabilities.

For me personally it was important to learn the language, and get to know the country’s traditions, beliefs and culture, which is all so different from Argentina. I think cultural exchange is very important to continue growing professionally and personally.

Flor with colleagues
Flor with colleagues

I have achieved some of my objectives. I adapted to the way of life and I began to learn the language. That allowed me to establish a bond with the therapists I worked with, so that we could exchange patient experiences and share knowledge. I still need to continue learning the language so that I can talk in more detail about working with people with disabilities.

Life in Haiti during this period of covid and social unrest is not easy. Many of the people who live here do not believe the disease exists, so there is a daily struggle to ensure that the necessary preventive measures are respected to avoid contagion. Haiti is a a country that does not have the medical resources to support people with covid.

The social unrest means that there are few possibilities to go out. I largely stayed in my place of work, which made it difficult to introduce variety into the daily routine. Sometimes it also meant I was lonely.

Flor with some of the residents
Flor with some of the residents

It could be frightening when work obliged me to leave the NPH location because of the great insecurity on the streets. When you live and work at Kay Christine, you feel accompanied. There is no shortage of hugs, laughter; you feel like family. People live in a state of constant alertness and stress, but still manage to retain their underlying joy.

This makes me appreciate daily life, always be grateful for what I have and value the little things in life. People never lose faith, and they pray and give thanks every day for what they have, for the people who help them.

I think it is important to highlight the importance of love, respect, values and humility, which are essential to carry out the challenges that arise every day. These 8 months living in Haiti have full of learning and an unforgettable personal and professional experience.

Thank you

Flor’s time in Haiti was made possible in part by support from one of NPH Ireland’s valued partners, Misean Cara, who provide mission support from Ireland around the world, including in Haiti.

Reflections on 2021

As a new year comes in, we are wise to take a look back on the year ending and somehow sum up 365 days of life and all that entails!

In the special needs programs, our biggest challenge during 2021 was the insecurity in Haiti. It is fair to say that we all worried and stressed through every day, and without doubt our greatest success was being able to survive the year!

Our Special Needs school and our rehab centre had to close for several periods during the year but we are still here and still doing a great job. Parents and patients are very happy with the services we provide, and the school children continue to learn in a safe and happy environment.

In Haiti, survival of a program is a huge success!


In terms of those living in Kay Christine- many of our family members are very fragile, and to get through a year with no death is a great achievement. Credit goes to our wonderful staff and the high level of care we provide. We also had a year where no one was hospitalized – another major achievement! Our family is ageing. Our challenges are increasing, as many that were previously among the stronger ones, now face adult health issues and this demands changes. We will get there!

We welcome 2022 and we pray for good health and strength to deal with whatever comes our way. We pray for peace in Haiti and in the world. We pray for a world where LOVE becomes the trend that takes over! Thank you for staying with us!

Gena Heraty

Residents and carers in Kay Christine

Today I want to tell you a little bit about the wonderful men and women that work as carers in Kay Christine. But first let me just give you a little insight into the Kay Christine family.

The residents

The Kay Christine family comprises 31 residents – 12 girls and 19 boys. The youngest is almost 11 and the oldest is 44.

The average age in the family is 27, so you see why I have to stop calling them kids! Of those 31 residents, 8 are in wheel chairs and are totally dependent- in other words they require carers to take care of all their basic needs. Another 9 are able to walk – some with limitations – but need full assistance with toileting and bathing. Of that 9, all have been taught to feed themselves but some need help with drinking.

The other 14 are able to take care of their basic needs by themselves, but a few need supervision. A total of 10 are non-verbal, 10 more have some limited language, are able to make themselves understood most of the time, but the average non Kay Christine member, would have great difficulty to understand them. 11 can speak clearly and 8 of those 11 can hold a conversation.

The carers

Now back to the carers. We have two different sets of carers- those that live in and those that come and go every day. Both groups work 7 days on and 7 days off. When Covid came we had to re-think things, and came up with this current schedule, which, thankfully, everyone loves!

Special Needs carers
Some of our carers getting in the Christmas mood

Those that come and go every day start in the morning at 6am and finish at 6pm with some breaks during the day.

Our routine

They come in the morning and and their main responsibility is the care of the more disabled dependent residents that sleep in one big dorm downstairs. They get everyone up, bathed, dressed and fed and then take care of house chores – making beds, cleaning, folding clothes, etc. During the day we have a total of 6 scheduled diaper/toileting changes(this includes the getting up and going to bed changes) and many unscheduled ones too depending on individual needs.

The team handles all those changes and all meals during the day right up until bed time. All those that need assistance are ready for bed by 6pm though they may not necessarily go to bed until 7. In Haiti, we all go to bed early and are up early, so this schedule works well for our family.

Night-time care

At 6pm we have 2 night ladies that come and they look after the more dependent residents during the night and they also get everything ready for morning bathing and breakfast. They work 6pm to 6am and have a 5 on 5 off schedule.

While they are not nurses, they have been trained to take very good care of everyone and they are adept at taking temperatures, changing the positions of those that cannot turn by themselves and making sure that everyone is comfortable and safe during the night. Many of our more dependent family members have issues with breathing, so we need to be very careful with them and how we position them.

We are very proud that we never have pressure sores in Kay Christine, and our staff are very aware of all the little gestures our non verbal residents make when they need to be changed or when they need to be turned. We have a nurse on site all the time. Whenever we have an issue the night staff come and get us – the nurse, the supervisor and myself – who sleep upstairs.

Our mobile people also sleep upstairs- we have 2 boys bedrooms and 2 girls bedrooms. In each of the boys room there is a male carer. These men live in for their week on and they take care of the boys/men in each room- three boys in each room plus one carer. The girls upstairs do not need a carer with them, though the nurse does sleep in one of the girls room.

Right beside Kay Christine there is another 2-story house. Downstairs in that house we have one carer and 6 our more able-bodied boys. They are pretty independent but do need guidance with most of the daily activities. Finally we have 2 people (1 man and 1 woman) that each have their own living space and own individual carer, as they can be very difficult and aggressive at times.

Strong personalities

So there you have it! The day is full on and as you can imagine, with all the different personalities, one needs to have a lot of patience- especially when the bigger personalities have disputes among themselves.

Challenges getting to work

Remember I told you the day carers come in at 6am. Well you should know that some of them leave their homes before 5 and walk for at least an hour up the mountain to get to us. Some others can take a motor taxi but more recently with the fuel crisis they also had to walk for well over an hour. No matter the weather, these ladies show up. They are truly fantastic. The staff that live in are equally fantastic. Some of them live in areas that are not at all safe so they frequently have to negotiate burning tyres and gun battles when they are coming and going to our home. Our staff have been with us for years. We joke among ourselves that we have grown up together, as most of them have been with us for over 15 years, and quite a few for over 20 years. What a blessing!

Honouring our staff

So, is it any wonder we want to honor our staff this Christmas? Without them, there would never be this great Kay Christine Family!

Support our Christmas appeal

Support our Christmas appeal and you’ll give a gift to each of our carers and make your contribution to the Special Needs funding for 2022. Thank you!

Gena Heraty, Director, NPH Haiti Special Needs

A family devastated by the earthquake

Jean Max tells of his family’s suffering

Jean Max
Jean Max

Jean Max is a young radiologist, who studied medicine with financial support from NPH.

He was determined to help his country but he wanted to be well prepared to do so, and therefore chose to study at one of the few universities still standing in Port au Prince after the 2010 earthquake.

He’s been working for some years now at St. Damien Paediatric Hospital, providing assessments and diagnoses, especially in the area of maternity and gynaecology. He gets satisfaction from helping to improve lives in his country.

Jean Max has experienced first hand the suffering of many Haitians since the earthquake of 14 August, and the initial anguish of not knowing whether those of his family living in the South-West had were still alive, in the areas around Les Cayes and at Perenie in the countryside.

Everything lost

Jean Max's family home in ruins
Jean Max’s family home

The first news he received was that his aunt and uncle had lost their home and their lifetime belongings. Jean Max then heard that an uncle had died during the earthquake.

A gang blocks access

Some days later he decided to go to Perenie with a cousin and an uncle, to provide support to his family. However, they were unable to get there because of a gang controlling road access to Les Cayes, near Martissant. “They prevented us from getting through to the area affected, where my family lives, which was a real disaster for us”, says Jean Max.

After talking by phone they received photos showing that his family had lost everything: their home, garden, animals and personal belongings.

Ruined home of Jean Max's family
Jean Max’s family home

They need shelter from the tropical storms, bedding, a new home and everything to put their life back together. Emotionally they have suffered the loss of a loved one, and they will have to manage that loss as best they can during this humanitarian disaster.

Aid yet to arrive

Jean Max’s family live in the countryside, in the Perenie area, isolated from international aid, which is arriving chiefly at the large cities such as Jeremies and Les Cayes.

They hope that NPH Haiti can help them to overcome their tragic personal situation. NPH Haiti is evaluating the situation of dozens of families in similar circumstances to Jean Max’s family to see how they can deliver aid as swiftly as possible in such adverse conditions.

More than 1.5 million earthquake victims are experiencing similar dramatic situations and they are waiting for our support.