Care for Special Needs Children
The lack of primary healthcare and poor birthing conditions in Haiti has contributed to high levels of disability in children. The Maison de Benediction, the residential respite care home for children with disabilities, is located on the grounds of the hospital in North Haiti. This respite care home empowers families to care for their child within the family structure and supports parents so they don’t feel forced to abandon their child, helping them feel confident and happy caring for their child physically, emotionally and financially. The Maison is the only respite home for children with disabilities in North Haiti.
The Maison is a small, nurturing setting providing up to 40 children per year with an individual care and learning program that helps improve their life skills through arts, crafts, music, sports and educational activities as well as physical therapy, nutritional and medical support. The children are able to stay at the respite home between Monday – Friday morning, after which they will join their families or their foster carers for the weekend. The home works very closely with the primary care-givers in assessing the children’s safety and well-being.
The dedicated and trained local staff at the respite home care for 20-25 children a day and have 40 registered children in total. These children suffer from a range of disabilities any many of the need substantial care. A number of the children at Maison de Benediction are unable to walk, communicate or feed themselves. Some come from a background of neglect, having been left at home with no support while their parents have had to go to work. Many children who come to the Maison have physical deficiencies from lack of attention and lying down in one position for extensive periods of time.
THHT works with the children and their parents to help the family stay together and care for each other where possible. The respite care allows parents to go out to work and earn a living for their family. The project also gives the parents the knowledge and confidence to care for their disabled child so they don’t feel they need to give them up to an orphanage.