In 1993, Gladys Thomas, founder of the Foundation for the Children of Haiti (FCH), was faced with the grim reality of an "Abandoned Children's Ward" at the Port au Prince Hospital. The concrete floor of this ward was "home" to 23 abandoned children with severe physical and mental disabilities.
Conditions were horrendous. Children were lying on the floor in very unsanitary conditions. The hospital was barely able to provide for the basic physical needs of the children, consequently little was done to ease the discomfort the children endured as a result of their disabilities. There were no resources available for rehabilitation programs to deal with the symptoms suffered by the children or to slow the progression of their disabilities, and no emotional support or intellectual stimulation for the children.
Moved by a profound sense that these children deserved to be treated with love and dignity, FCH established "Hope Institute for Handicapped Children", now known as "Hope Home". Initially working solely on faith, Gladys rented a house in the community and moved in all 23 children. Local women were hired as "house mothers" to care for the children.
Alannda and Merseilia, her House Mom
Once Hope Home had been established, FCH began to marshal financial resources to support the work. Sponsorship programs were started, with donors being matched with a specific child living at Hope Home.
Hope Home is now home to 28 children and young adults with a wide range of disabilities including cerebral palsy, vision impairment, hydrocephalus, autism, and other complex disabilities. The residents range in age from birth to late twenties.
The "house moms" at Hope Home care for the physical and emotional needs of their children, making every effort to ensure that Hope Home is as much like a family home as possible.
Moise at Hope Home – Living a life of dignity
Since 2002, Hope Home residents have lived in facilities designed with their special needs in mind. Hope Home is located right next to the Rainbow of Love Orphanage at FCH's Children's Village.
Hope Home – A special place for special people
In order to enhance the level of care offered at Hope Home, the Canadian Foundation for the Children of Haiti ("CFCH") arranges an annual "Hope Home Work Team" consisting of medical professionals experienced in caring for people with special needs. The team works with the children, developing care plans, ensuring that each child has a functioning wheelchair that has been modified for the child's special needs, and providing other support equipment as necessary. The team also provides training the house moms. A CFCH volunteer does a follow-up visit later each year to work with the children and continue with the staff training programs.
CFCH solicits donations of wheelchairs, medical equipment and other equipment and supplies needed by Hope Home. These items are delivered by the Work Team. The wheelchair program has been particularly successful: all of the children are now "up off the floor" and have some independence, with 5 children in motorized wheelchairs.
Hope Home is a truly amazing ministry in a poor country like Haiti, where needy children with disabilities usually suffer greatly. The dedication of the staff in Haiti, donors in North America, and volunteer workers has transformed the lives of these children in a dramatic way.
Hope Home – Giving special children a reason to celebrate
Canadian Foundation for the Children of Haiti
6093 – 145A Street.
Surrey, B.C. V3S 4R6
CFCH is a Canadian Registered Charity
Canada Revenue Agency Business Number 89000 4591 RR0001