Programs for Differently Abled Youth
While girls with disabilities are included within our rural programs, LIDE also provides a special program in Gonaives that offers individuated and adaptive programs to a group differently abled youth in the Gonaives area. These kids have adapted to disabilities that include cerebral palsy, hydrocephaly, muscular dystrophy, and other genetic conditions by utilizing the strengths within them — especially those found within their hearts.
The program for these youth still follow the same thematic curriculum as our other programs, but activities are adapted to their abilities while building additional strengths through integration into the arts of:
- Physical therapy
- Basic computer skills
- Social interaction skills
- Occupational therapy or training
- Foundational academic skills
- LIDE also helps care for their medical needs through partnerships with hospitals in Haiti and visits from medical professionals.
How the program began
In early 2016, in an attempt to find support services for one of our participants who has cerebral palsy, LIDE reached out to the government office in Haiti that provides support for persons with disabilities, BSEIPH as it is referred to in Haiti. We entered their offices in a beautiful old gingerbread-style home on Gonaives, and were greeted with kind welcome, but when we asked what services they provide, the list was limited.
“Do you have any programs or activities for youth?” we asked.
“No, not yet,” they answered. And then added, “we have a social worker who comes every other month.” They then explained the understandable story of good intentions that are without any funding to make them a reality. SO they had this big, empty, beautiful space, and not many activities to fill it.
“Would you like a program for youth?” We asked.
“Yes, but kids can’t get here. Their families can’t afford a Tap-Tap, and with disabilities, they cannot walk.”
“We will provide the transportation and the programs if you will provide a list of kids.”
And so they did, and we did too, and now twice a week every week, a LIDE “Tap-Tap” picks up our very special kids and brings them to BSEIPH in Gonaives for LIDE programs.
Since the programs began, we also have sponsored 5 scholarships for regular academic education to BSEIPH kids (a scholarship which includes daily transportation for those whose disabilities make it too hard to walk).