Mission: Support the pazapa center for special needs children in jacmel, haiti
Programs: 1. Pazapa special educationthe pazapa center in jacmel, haiti provides special education and therapy to children with developmental and mental challenges from infancy to late teens. It has a total of 103 children. Following destruction of its previous building by the january 2010 earthquake, the school was relaunched in october 2010 in temporary quarters on land purchased using funding provided by the siloe project. Its early intervention (0-3 years) focuses on working with mothers and other care givers to ensure that stimulation therapy and socialization techniques are learned and carried out of the home. The early school level (4-10 years) emphasizes motor, language and social skills while helping children develop confidence in their abilities. The senior class continues the academic program, assisting those students who can manage a regular school curriculum to be "mainstreamed" in an afternoon public school program. 10 children with multiple, severe handicaps who are unable to attend the school, are enrolled in the home visit program and seen in their own house and community by pazapa teachers and visiting volunteers.
2. Pazapa school for the deafthe pazapa school for the deaf is in its fourth successful year. Currently 30 children attend from junior kindergarten to grade 6. A kindergarten level sign language class is offered to 6 children with a severe language or hearing impairment. The older deaf students were highly successful in the national grade 6 exams.
3. Pazapa family support - small business for families of the disabledthe staff at pazapa and the siloe project believe that the health and development of a child is closely related to the family's economic status. The major concern is the economic status of the mothers who are sole caregivers for the disabled and often unable to work outside the home. Therefore, pazapa has facilitated small independent commercial ventures through business loans to families of pazapa children and also to senior students.
4. Pazapa orthopedic and medical servicesthrough local and international visiting volunteer health professionals, pazapa provides clinical evaluation, orthopedic, neurological and plastic surgery, occupational and physical therapy and rehabilitation for physically handicapped children. Cure international casts and corrects free of charge clubfeet patients under the age of two, with pazapa follow-up averaging 19 patients per month. Six surgical patients with orthopedic foot, knee and hip deformities were treated in may 2010 by the salva vida team. There is a total of 23 children on seizure medication. The pazapa staff nurse and a local doctor, both funded by the siloe project, provide pre- and post-operative care.
5. Pazapa rural outreach rural outreach has brought help to over 300 children with physical and cognitive disabilities in mountainous rural southeast haiti areas who are unable to easily reach jacmel. This initiative is supported both by the siloe project and our partner, children's blind mission. Pazapa now has a total of six outreach locations with monitors and one assistant to the outreach coordinator. The monitors, who are community-based rehabilitation workers, are working closely with parent groups and identifying areas that need improvement.
My wife Nancy and I first went to PAZAPA in Jacmel, Haiti, in 1997 when our son Jonathan E. Scholes worked there as a Peace Corps Volunteer for two years. The PAZAPA founders wisely recognized that the health and development of a child with disabilities is closely related to the family's economic status. Therefore Jonathan helped set up a mango-drying business for the mothers of children with disabilities. To this day PAZAPA continues to work with the families of its students by providing them small business loans which have had nearly a 100 % repayment success rate.
A donation to Pazapa provides a lot of "bang for your buck" because all of the people in the U.S. are volunteers. Your gift would go almost entirely to help Haitian children with disabilities and their families.
I may be biased, but I believe Pazapa is playing a very important role in Haiti as the only combined school/vocational training/health program for the disabled in the country. It is a model that deserves to be expanded and replicated further. I've known Pazapa since I was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Haiti from 2000-2002. There would be a major gap in assistance without Pazapa, especially now in post earthquake Haiti. It is an organization well worth supporting.
In Haitian Creole, PAZAPA means “step by step,” and that is how our school in Jacmel continues to move forward. The Pazapa School provides educational and nutrition programs as well as essential medical and surgical treatments for the students. Special education as we know it in American schools does not exist in Haiti. There is no public source of help for children with disabilities, so it is no exaggeration to say that Pazapa is a lifeline for our students and their families.
Last year Haiti was ravaged by hurricanes. Many families were already living in mud when the third storm hit the island. Then came the earthquake. The depth of poverty there is beyond what most of us can even imagine. Yet in this challenging environment, the strong spirit of the Haitian people does not waiver, and the families of Pazapa continue to value education for their children. Our school was destroyed, but we are rebuilding, and in the aftermath of the earthquake, we provided life saving assistance to the Pazapa families. Along with food, clean water, and housing assistance we assured them that their children would survive and continue to receive an education to allow them to fulfill their potential and live meaningful lives.
Pazapa runs efficiently on a small budget, and the Board operates in a fiscally responsible manner to ensure that we can continue to help the children and families of Haiti move forward “step by step.”