Looking to the Future in Haiti
Over the past two years, the Knight of Columbus’ “Healing Haiti’s Children” program – in conjunction with Project Medishare – has been an overwhelming success by any measure. Through the program the Order committed to providing each child who lost a limb in the 2010 earthquake that devastated Haiti with a series of prosthetic devices over the next two years, refitting the devices as they grow.
Patients travel from all over southern Haiti to the Emilio Moure Clinic for Hope to receive the necessary treatment in order to care for their families, return to school, or return to work, and are grateful to the Knights of Columbus. Over 800 prosthetic and orthotic patients and thousands of rehabilitation patients have been treated with the highest standards possible.
According to Dr. Robert Gailey, director of rehabilitation services for Project Medishare, the program is now ready to move onto its next phase of training local staff to continue the program’s mission
“We feel the Haitian people are now ready for a restructured strategy focused on sustainability,” Dr. Gailey said. The program’s extension will allow the Knights of Columbus and Project Medishare to continue their joint mission in Haiti by creating a lasting program for our Haitian technicians and the people they serve, he added
“The Knights of Columbus is proud to take the next step in the ‘Healing Haiti’s Children’ program by training Haitian technicians to ensure this program’s continued success and sustainability into the future,” said Supreme Knight Carl Anderson.
The next phase will be a transitional program of education, practical training and long term employment for the Haitian staff who have been with the endeavor since the start and who want to continue to bring the level of rehabilitative and prosthetic care that they have come to know and value. Through the training program and amputee soccer program, the Knights of Columbus has become champions of Haitians with disabilities by offering a tangible example that with hope comes possibilities beyond the greatest expectations. The goal of the next phase, Dr. Gailey said, is to ensure that all the positive experiences that have occurred over the past two years don’t fade into distant memories, but live on through the Haitian people who can be empowered to care for themselves and their fellow brothers and sisters.
Currently four Haitian technicians are enrolled in formal certificate training programs to become rehabilitation technicians and prosthetic technicians. Over the next year, according to Gailey, they will receive the necessary training to adequately treat patients and supervise the other technicians. In addition, currently the program fabricates its own prosthetic feet, knees, liners and sleeves. Medishare is looking to attract manufacturers to utilize the existing labor force to produce the prosthetics.
“Since the earthquake, the people of Haiti have experienced the benefits of proper rehabilitation and are now seeking more services,” Dr. Gailey said. “Haitian people have come to realize the benefits of quality prosthetic care and that the use of a prosthesis not only provides the ability to walk but the opportunity to seek or maintain employment, provide for family and be a productive member of society.”
“On behalf of the Haitian people and project Medishare, I would like to thank you and all the Knights of Columbus for your continued generosity and support,” Dr. Gailey continued. “On a personal note, I have come to learn that the Knights of Columbus is not a large anonymous organization but rather a brotherhood of men, each doing their best to make the world a better place.”