By: Portlight, 4:59 PM GMT on January 25, 2011
Major kudos to our friends at Weather Underground on the site redesign!!!! It looks great...and flows well!!!
Those injured in the Haiti earthquake are in desperate need of shelter.
We are committed to supporting the effort outlined in the letter below.
Your contribution will have lasting impact. Please use the PayPal button or mail your check to: Portlight Strategies, Inc. 60 Fenwick Hall Allee Suite 721 Johns Island, SC 29455
I am a physical therapist who has been volunteering and working in Haiti since March of 2010. My main responsibility was oversight of the spinal cord injury unit in one of the hospitals within Port-au-Prince. As Haiti is moving past the disaster relief phase and concentrating on rebuilding, my hope is that those who have disabilities are not forgotten.
I am writing today in order to voice my concern for individuals with spinal cord injuries who are living in Haiti. Let me share some of their stories.
Elourdes was a newlywed who had been married for just a few months when the earthquake struck. Her back was fractured and she was trapped when her house collapsed on her on January 12, 2010. Luckily, she was rescued and her life was saved. Today she is still hospitalized due to the significant wounds she gained while laying under rubble for days and then on a cot for several more weeks following the earthquake. She will be ready for discharge in the next few months as her wounds fully heal, and she talks about wanting to raise a family when she leaves the hospital. But before she can even think about returning to life outside the hospital, she remembers that she has no home and no belongings outside of what she has acquired during her hospital stay.
Stephanie is a 14 year old girl who sustained a fracture in her back. She will need to use a wheelchair for the rest of her life. She understands that fact, but what she is struggling with is that she can no longer attend school. The school has agreed to continue to allow her to attend, but the tent where she lives is on the top of an inaccessible hill. Even if she was carried from her home to the roadway, her morning trek to school was an hour walk. In reality, this trip to school would be several hours pushing a chair through the uneven terrain and rubble, many parts requiring assistance for this young teenager which is not available to her.
Junior is a young man who, following his spinal cord injury, was abandoned by his family. Already struggling to find money for food, his family was unwilling to resume care for Junior after his injury. He was considered one additional mouth to feed and a burden to the family. However, SCI Haiti Project was able to provide housing for Junior and his friend Jean-Claude so that the two young men with paraplegia could live with Jean-Claude’s family. Now Junior has started working and is helping to contribute financially for his new friends who he calls family. But there are many more like Junior who need our help.
SCI Haiti Project was created to help provide safe and accessible housing and assistance to individuals with spinal cord injuries or other significant physical disabilities living in Haiti. Without safe shelter on level ground, these individuals are trapped and unable to truly participate in life. SCI Haiti Project is able to partner with local organizations to supply shelter homes. Shelters can be manufactured and assembled for approximately $4,500 each. These homes can house a family of 6 and are accessible for wheelchair users. Accessible shelter is the first step to promoting community reintegration and improving quality of life for patients with spinal cord injuries.
SCI Haiti Project’s goal is to provide accessible housing to earthquake victims whose homes and bodies were broken during the earthquake. SCI Haiti project hopes to relocate families of children with spinal cord injuries to homes on flat land and close to their schools. SCI Haiti Project plans to continue to be able to provide shelter and assistance to those with spinal cord injuries who are abandoned by their families and are terrified of being homeless and left alone in the world.
After the earthquake, doctors, nurses, therapists, and other medical professionals helped to save the lives of people with spinal cord injuries. However, it is now time to work together in order to provide them the opportunity to live.
Alyson Cavanaugh, PT
Updated: 8:17 PM GMT on February 02, 2011
By: Portlight, 9:59 PM GMT on January 18, 2011
We are monitoring the situation in Pakistan regarding the aftermath of the 7.2 earthquake there. We are in touch with colleagues at several DPO's (Disabled People Organizations)and the needs of people with disabilities there will be our focus.
At this point we feel our best assistance will be financial. All funds received will be distributed to Pakistan DPO's to facilitate their work there.