I have known of Pazapa for many years but have been privileged for the past 3 years to be a PT volunteer at their program. Living in Haiti is hard enough without the challenges that children and families with special needs experience--Pazapa is the saving grace for many families who face these added challenges. I have been so impressed with the dedication and compassion that the Pazapa staff members show to the many children and families they serve. The happy faces that I have seen at Pazapa are a testament to the amazing good works that this organization offers to its clients. Not only does this program serve the children center-based but they go out to the wider community and visit families with severely impaired family members to try and support them and their needs---these are kids that can't travel to the center but still have many needs. It is overwhelming to imagine the planning and funding that is needed to keep this program going on a daily basis for years but I am thankful that the staff is so dedicated to make this happen! Pazapa is a blessing to Jacmel!
To see the smiling faces of the children at the Pazapa center, even under their exsisting situation, made me realized that "why sweating about the small stuff in life". As a Volunteer with Team Canada Healing Hands, i had the honour and privilege to work as a Translator with Dr McGlynn and his wife Tina from November 12 to 15, 2012. I have witnessed their gentle, genuine and humble caring for many of the children at Pazapa who are in such a great need of medical care. The Siloe Projet dba Pazapa, what a great humanitarian endevours!
My husband and I have been supporting Pazapa in many ways since the late 1990s. Fred is an orthopedist and I am a teacher and a mom and a granny who loves all kinds of babies! We just returned from a trip there and I continue to be in awe of the work that is done there! I had the privilege of holding one small boy with hypotonia. He could hardly swallow his food but when I sang to him (and I can't sing) he smiled. A beautiful experience. His mom loves him so much and comes to the "baby class"every day to learn ways that she can help him. All the children are special needs and very poor....but most of them smile a lot anyway! Amazing people!
I volunteered with Pazapa as an occupational therapist back in the late 90's and then served on its board for many years. It's a wonderful organization, filling an absolutely critical void in Haiti. As a result of Pazapa, Jacmel is one of the few places in Haiti where children with disabilities can get the services they need. The staff is extraordinarily dedicated, as is the board. The most amazing part - seeing kids that I worked with 10 years ago who are now high school graduates, valued by their family and community. This is truly a special and unique program, in a country where it is very difficult to operate and run a successful program.
I worked with Pazapa as a Peace Corps volunteer, and was impressed with how much they could accomplish with such limited resources. I am now on the board of directors and very proud to be part of this organization.
I first visited Haiti and Pazapa when my son worked there in the Peace Corps in 1997. I have been back many times to visit and will be returning again to visit Pazapa this December. This remarkable school for children with disabilities operates on a bare bones budget and supports a staff of 21, a Special Education program for 75 students from infancy to late teens with developmental/mental challenges; orthopedic clinics, surgery , and physical therapy are provided by visiting volunteers. The school also provides Outreach services to 6 rural districts, and small business loans to mothers of the students. A school for the deaf for 30 students is held each afternoon. Breakfast and lunch are served each day to all the students. All programs and services are provided free of charge. The school building was destroyed in the Jan. 12, 2010 earthquake. All the children and staff survived. The hard working and dedicated USA Board has purchased land and are raising the funds to rebuild. The school is presently operating under temporary structures.
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.
The work of Pazapa is critical for providing opportunity for the Haitian children that are faced with the multiple obstacles of physical and mental challenges, an econom in distress and a country that is needy for all of its citzens to contribute to its rising from the devasting natural disasters. The money I donated is very well used as the administrative costs are proven low. A great return from my small contribution that will be multiplicative in its use.
The Siloé Project, through its Haitian NGO PAZAPA, provides for the treatment, education and rehabilitation of over 100 Haitian children each year. All live with a disability and all live in the greater area of Jacmel, Haiti. For the most part, Haitian schools do not accept children with disabilities. Coupling a disability with lack of schooling severely limits a child’s potential to earn a living once s/he reaches adulthood.
Pazapa is a wonderful charity that helps people in severe need. Without this organization, disabled people in Haiti would suffer unthinkable privation. Every one of the volunteers, board members and staff members I have met are hard working, practical people that are focused on making a difference.
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.
Pazapa has been around since the mid-1980's. Through hurricanes, flooding, political upheavals and the 2010 earthquake, Pazapa has stayed true to its mission of helping Haiti's neediest.
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.”